Big Ass Spider! Movie Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
Released by Epic Pictures
Directed by Mike Mendez
Written by Gregory Gieras
2013, 80 minutes, PG-13
Released on January 7th, 201
Greg Grunberg as Alex Mathis
Ray Wise as Major Braxton Tanner
Clare Kramer as Lieutenant Karly Brant
Lin Shaye as Mrs. Jefferson
When sitting down to watch a movie titled Big Ass Spider!, you kind of have to temper your expectations. Having seen the trailer, I expected nothing more than the usual Syfy channel level fare that we've become inundated with in the past few years thanks to the popularity of such schlock as Sharknado and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and their micro-budgeted ilk. What I got was pretty much what I expected, but so much more too, thanks in large part to some clever writing and great performances from Greg Grunberg as a hapless exterminator and Lombardo Boyar as his security-guard-turned-arachnid-hunting sidekick against the titular titanic spider.
Honestly, I'm usually against these kinds of cash-in cheese fests unless it's Godzilla smashing cardboard Japan, but the damn movie is just plain fun. I wanted to roll my eyes over the effects of course, especially once the spider gets car sized and beyond, but the actors sell their parts so well that I completely overlooked that aspect. What's sad is that when the creature is smaller and more obviously a practical effect, it works so much better and would have been fine. I wish they had just went with that, as a two-foot-long spider could be scary enough, and sometimes going to a larger destructive scope actually narrows the audience's ability to suspend and ride along when the budget isn't high enough to afford top-end CGI. But the target audience for Big Ass Spider! probably won't care, and in the end, I surprisingly didn't either because it's just plain fun and they weren't exactly playing it straight to begin with.
There are a few extra touches, like the use of Lloyd Kaufman's cameo (he is the Stan Lee of low-budget movies after all) and some genuinely funny dialog courtesy of Grunberg's awkward pick-up attempts and banter with Boyar that really elevate the quality and put a smile on my face. I laughed out loud in a lot more places than I ever expected to and really can't emphasize the chemistry between the two spider chasers enough. Don't get me wrong, it's a cheese fest of the finest degree, but made with an obvious love of monster movies and their tropes that is less parody and more celebration. Where the normal entrants in this genre feature wooden paint-by-numbers characters and scripting, this one has wit and a strange sort of character development that may not be believable, but still feels right. Ray Wise also kicks it up a notch as Major Tanner, the hard-nosed Army commander. If you're the type of person that would seek out a title like Big Ass Spider!, then you definitely won't be disappointed. If you are as skeptical as I was going into it, then you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun you'll have watching it.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.