Ellory Elkayem's EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS is a silly and fun B-movie that's
best when it's the most ridiculous.
Here's an original idea for a motion picture. What if insects ingested
toxic waste? What if those insects were a tasty bunch of crickets,
the favorite food of spiders? Think those spiders might grow really
big, really fast? Well, that's exactly what happens in the ironically
named town of Prosperity, Arizona. Soon the spiders are munching
on the locals, eating them like, well, flies. The insects are so
big that the mayor has to ask what they are exactly. One of the citizens
replies, "A spider, man." The movie never takes itself, or other
movies ten times its box office size, seriously.
Although they aren't exactly all A-list stars, the cast does themselves
proud and aren't afraid of looking stupid in the service of their
comedy. Young Scott Terra, a Harry Potter look-alike, plays Mike
Parker, the local brainiac who knows all there is to know about arachnids.
Kari Wuhrer plays his single mom and the town's sheriff. Scarlett
Johansson (GHOST WORLD) plays his sister, a slightly rebellious but
still virginal teen. David Arquette plays Chris McCormack, the son
of the owner of an inactive gold mine. Chris is a painfully shy guy
who has always had a crush on Mike's mom. And Doug E. Doug plays
a rebel radio operator. His outlaw station features non-stop warnings
about government conspiracies and alien attacks.
Once the spiders get into their nocturnal feeding frenzy, it's "Arac
Attack!" time, which was the working title for the picture. Although
not as much fun or as exhilarating as REIGN OF FIRE, EIGHT LEGGED
FREAKS is a treat. But too much of it can go a long way. Trimmed
down by ten or fifteen minutes the length would have been just about
right. If you have any fear of spiders, however, don't even think
about checking out this film. The special effects are crude but quite memorable.
EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS runs 1:39. It is rated PG-13 for "sci-fi violence,
brief sexuality and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***, saying that it was "hokey fun."
He commented that the special effects were good but not too good,
which was perfect for a parody.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes