“Stop the spider, save the city, kiss the girl.”
We often say that they don’t make them like they used to. That is mostly a bad thing, but it goes the other way too. Films that break the mold are in short supply and ones that bring back classic scenarios in new and interesting ways are even fewer and further between. But when we get one, it tends to be a gem. Such is the case with Big Ass Spider!
Big Ass Spideropens with a close up of Exterminator Alex (Greg Grunberg) as he walks through a swarm of people running for their lives. What from? A big ass spider a top the Los Angeles First Bank Tower. Yep. You read it right, a spider the size of King Kong. With an intro like that, I was hooked. Setting the stage for the climax, the film jumps back 12 hours to how it all began.
Alex is on a routine call to a woman (Lin Shaye) who pays him in fruit cakes and free groping. On his way out, he is bitten by a highly poisonous spider and heads down to the local hospital. Right place, wrong time! An alien DNA, military engineered spider has found its way into the hospital and is growing with every feeding. Things get real when the military, headed by Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise) and Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer) show up. The spider will continue to grow and feed on humans, it’s gonna take more than fire power to take this bad boy out. It’s gonna take Alex.
Big Ass Spider is so much fun. You really couldn’t ask for more with a film like this. The action is exciting and let’s face it, spiders get under your skin. I have to admit that I got a little paranoid while watching this one. It’s interesting to note that the film is light hearted and fun, but the performances are so good and real, it shames most other “monster spider” movies that take themselves more seriously. That alone says something about the cast. All across the board, every one shines.
Mike Mendez proves once again that he is a talented film maker. It’s hard to balance a film like this and he does so perfectly. The right amount of horror and comedy really make a difference with this one. Another thing I enjoyed was that Mendez knows how to portray Los Angeles. Having been born and raised here, I can attest to the multitude of films made in L.A. that don’t portray the city as it is. Mendez’s portrayal is so good that I wouldn’t hesitate to call him the Michael Mann of independent horror in that respect.
As far as the cast is concerned, Greg Grunberg is fantastic. Alex is a guy that thinks he is much cooler than he is and can’t understand why the rest of the world isn’t on board. You really want to root for him because he’s just a regular guy at heart.
His right hand man, Jose is played by Lombardo Boyar, who adds a real authenticity to the film. Trust me, his character is funny, but real, and that is what works so well (and arguably, why it’s so funny).
Clare Kramer rounds out the spider fighting team as Lieutenant Karly Brant, a hard-nosed officer that seems to find Alex’s persistence endearing. Another performance I enjoyed because she is played real. Many times in film, they cast a beautiful woman in a military role and you cringe. It’s rarely believable but Kramer is spot on. She is strong and vulnerable at the right times and that really make the character work.
Big Ass Spider works on so many levels that it’s nearly a perfect monster film. Energetic, fun, and plenty of thrills, it’s a hard flick to beat. Do yourself a favor and add it to your collection. You’ll be glad you did.
Big Ass Spider Hits BD/DVD on Tuesday!