Eight Legged Freaks
Dir: Ellory Elkayem
Star: David Arquette, Kari Wuher, Doug E Doug, Rick Overton
Cert / Year: 12 - PG13 / 2002
Format: DVD R1

The small town of Prosperity (no not the one from Tremors) is a dying town. The gold mine hasn't paid out for years and unscrupulous Major Wade has a plan for dumping toxic waste in it to make some cash. Unfortunately one barrel falls into a local stream, a stream that feeds the local spider farm. Before you know it the town is upto its neck in giant man eating spiders. The only hope lies in the returning mine owners son Chris, his ex sweetheart and sheriff Sam, her gormless deputy Pete and conspiracy nut Harlan. Heaven help them!

The above description is maybe a superfluous, it might just have well said "Giant spiders eat town!". As you can see the plot isn't upto much. In fact it is the same as any other giant monster movie in a patronage that stretches all of the way back to the film Them! in 1954. So why watch this film if it is so formulaic, well the answer lies in comedy. Start watching and you will quickly see this is a film that does not take itself seriously. No it isn't a spoof, just a clever comic homage to the earlier monster films, in much the same way as Gremlins or Tremors.

This comedy comes from a number of sources. The first is the brilliantly witty script, and the likeable characters that it provides. Again very much like Tremors the citizens of this Perfection are an odd bunch of misfits and the way they react to the spiders is hilarious. Delivering the punchy dialogue and great one-liners is a good quality B-list cast, headed by the always likeable David Arquette ( best known for his role of Dwight 'Dewey' Riley in the Scream movies). For the love interest we have Kari Wuher (Sliders) as a good, tough, and beautiful cop. However it is her son that played by Scott Terra that is the real find. He is a great actor with a zero kid annoyment value, a rising star indeed. Other parts are note include Doug E Doug who as Harlan gets all of the big laughs with his conspiracy theory rants, and Rick Overton who is great as deputy Pete. Lastly look out for a fantastic cameo from the underused Tom Noonan.

All this would have been for nothing if the spiders had looked rubbish, but thanks to some fantastic CGI effects it is not the case. The spiders are big and scary. The movement is spot on and just looking at is guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine. But even they are not immune form getting in on the comedy, as they have been given some very human qualities (they cough when swallowing dust, they work together to get the humans). Even the sounds they make have human qualities. While all of this may sound like a majorily bad idea, trust me it works and more importantly it is very funny.

Earlier on I said that this film was homage to the earlier monster movies, and this was not by accident. The film is backed with in-jokes and nods towards many other films. From the name of the town, through lines of dialogue, to Them! seen on a TV, this is a veritable cult film spotter playground. A nice touch that really added to the re-watchability.

Eight Legged Freaks is the film the Evolution should have been. It is funny, scary, and overall very entertaining. Great effects, good cast and a script that is full of dark comedy and outright laughs. Yes it is shallow and, yes it is silly but you won't want to miss it. Move over Gremlins and Tremors this is the new kid on the sci-fi comedy block. The spiders are ten times bigger than Arachnophobia, and this film is ten times better. In short it is very good, and a darn good laugh, go and watch it.


Do you hate spiders? Do you really hate spiders? Well they don't like you either.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Good quailty modern picture
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 As usuall top sound
Features Alternate ending + Additional scenes
Commentary with David Arquette and Ellory Elkayem
Spider Trivia
"Larger Than Life" the directors original short film that inspired the movie
Cracking Doom clone game of the film for the PC
Verdict Fantastic picture and sound, but a limited yet interesting set of extras. More would definitely not have gone a miss, but what there is is good.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home