The concept is hardly an original one. Mankind falls pray to a giant bug beast terrorising the city. We’ve been there before with Mimic and Starship Troopers. Yet there is something cringingly enjoyable about Mike Mendez’s Big Ass Spider!
In doesn’t take long to realise that this isn’t the type of film that’s going to make cinematic history. That fact becomes glaringly obvious from the opening scene in which unlikely hero Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) ambles bravely (and somewhat cornily) forward through the mist of chaos and destruction to seek out the eight-legged fiend. However the movie, which mostly relays the events that lead to the devastation in a ‘12 hours earlier’ flashback, is quite entertaining.
Highlights include the friendship between Alex and his sidekick Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) who provide much laughs with their comical bond. Boyar is an outpouring source of amusement and a delight to watch on screen. There is also plenty of gore to keep the movie ticking over. From the stomach churning moment when the victim’s flesh slides from his face to floor post arachnid venom attack to the audible bone crunching kill in the park. These are the classic gruesome moment no horror movie should be without.
Less impressive were the small but noticeable holes in the plot. Like how the fit and healthy Lieutenant, Karly Brant (Clare Crammer) could be out-run by an overweight exterminator and why the military Major Braxton Tanner, played by Ray Wise, would send in the bug squasher to save Brant in place of his qualified, trained men. Surely Alex’s bug knowledge and passion for the feisty blonde pale in comparison to actual military skills?
Slapstick comedy appears to be the tone of the movie although it isn’t outrageously ridiculous enough to be fully achieved. Nor is it serious enough to earn its ‘thriller status’. As a result Big Ass Spider! sits somewhere in between the two and at times comes off a tad silly.
The love story between Grunberg and Crammer’s characters also falls into the ‘so-so’ category thanks to the serious lack of heat. Flirtation between the two is so unbearably awkward that Jose and Alex – with their easy-going, chummy friendship – appear to be a better fit.
However, despite the plot holes and the flimsy love story Mendez pulls off a fairly likable script. Big Ass Spider! keeps a nice pace, is easy to follow and ignites a fair few good laughs. Is it worth the watch…?Yeah, go on but just the once.