Big Ass Spider! (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Mike Mendez
Distributed by Epic Pictures Group
Growing up in the 70s, I was weaned on giant insect horror movies like THEM!, Tarantula, and The Beginning of the End. Something about mutant bugs running amok in movies holds a very special place in my heart. I knew going in to Big Ass Spider! that it was gonna fall well within my wheelhouse, and about 80 minutes later I found myself nothing short of delighted. Director Mike Mendez (The Gravedancers, The Convent) brings his homage to those wacky creepy-crawly flicks of yesteryear to life with enough energy for several films.
The plot is simple. The government is experimenting with growth hormones to increase the world's food supply and somehow a nasty arachnid got thrown into the mix and then boom - we have ourselves a Big Ass Spider who loves nothing more than melting faces with its acidic silk, webbing up its victims for chow later, impaling people with deadly intent, and wrecking shit the entire time. Good thing for us our heroes Greg Grunberg ("Heroes", "Alias") and Lombardo Boyar ("The Bernie Mac Show") are here as Alex, an exterminator the likes of which would make John Goodman in Arachnophobia proud, and Jose, his security guard sidekick, respectively. Together our duo are looking to make history by rescuing those in need and going mano y mano with all eight legs of towering terror. In a nutshell, that's it story-wise and that's all that it needs to be.
In a word Big Ass Spider is fun. It thoroughly helped me get back in touch with my inner 8-year-old, and every now and again you just really need to take the time to do so. It's fulfilling, I promise you. The effects vary from pretty awesome to wow, that looks fake, but who cares? This is a low-budget film that's been made with the kind of gleeful reckless abandon it needed to have fueling its engine. There's so much energy and fun happening on the screen that you can clearly tell that everyone involved was having a blast. Big props for letting all the action take place in the daytime, too. There's no hiding the carnage in this flick. It's proudly on display in the most unapologetic of ways possible.
As simple as this formula may seem to get right, few films do. That's right, I'm looking at you Eight Legged Freaks and the recently released Spiders. This is how you do it, man. Mendez clearly knew the exact kind of film he was making and put a lot of thought into every which way a giant spider could have its way with Los Angeles... while splashing around a healthy amount of the red stuff the entire time. Is the movie perfect? No. Is it on par with some of the better films released this year? Probably not, but it makes up for any of its shortcomings in spades by delivering a flick whose wickedly black heart is beating steadily in all the right places.
In terms of the special features, there's really not a hell of a lot to see here. It's too bad we didn't get a big ass package. What we do have is a 5-minute look at the film's SXSW premiere and we also get to spend a couple of minutes with the cast during some truly funny interviews.
Big Ass Spider! is nothing short of B-movie bliss. If you're looking for a serious scare-fest, avoid it at all costs. However, if some slimy and bloody fun that will make you thoroughly itchy is on your agenda along with pizza, beer, and other assorted party favors, then you just cannot miss. Pop it in, crank it up, and have yourself a good time.
3 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5