Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Spiders (2000)

... aka: Arachnofobia II
... aka: Cobwebs
... aka: Spider's Attack

Directed by:
Gary Jones

Marci (Lana Parrilla), a college student working for a student newspaper about extraterrestrials and other supernatural phenomena, plus two male co-workers (Nick Swarts and Mark Phelan), head out into the California wilderness following a report of alien sightings. There they witness a spaceship crash, see a scientist being shot by a corrupt military man, stow away on a truck that's loaded down with corpses (from the ship), and end up trapped in Majestic 12 headquarters; a military bunker / lab way underground (you need to take an elevator to get down there) where unorthodox experiments have been taking place. Some scientists have injected a tarantula with some alien DNA, said spider laid an egg inside one of the astronauts and said egg has hatched; resulting in a large, web-shooting spider monster with cell-regenerative properties that sinks its fangs into most of the supporting cast. The monster also grows bigger and bigger from one generation to the next, so at the finale we get a house-sized giant spider going on GODZILLA rampage on a college campus and through the city. It's up to Marci and a buff military dude (Josh Green), both in their matching white tank tops, to stop the monster.

Not to spoil the ending, but in features our heroine hanging out of a helicopter on a rope trying to shoot a missile out of a bazooka (that looks like it was made by Nerf) right into the monster's mouth. As one character says early on, "It's like a bad sci-fi movie!" Well, I've seen worse. The story and stock characters have been worn clichés for at least 40 years, the dialog is laughable ("We need bug repellent, not guns!"), the acting is bad to fair and the special effects are highly uneven (there's a pretty good animatronic-model spider by KNB and some lame, but scantly-used, computer fx at the end).

Filmed as Cobwebs, this was released in South America as a sequel to ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990). It did well enough to prompt the sequel SPIDERS II: BREEDING GROUND (2001). Director Jones also made the killer skeeter flick MOSQUITO (1994) and the killer croc flick CROCODILE II: DEATH SWAMP (2002).


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