Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Ellory Elkayem
Running Time: 100 mins
Eight Legged Freaks is an American film about a small Arizona town that is invaded by enormous, man-eating spiders, who lay waste to everything and everyone that stands in their way.
There’s not really much to say about this film apart from the fact that it’s everything you expect. A small town is invaded by ginormous man-eating spiders, and that’s pretty much the long and short of it. However, with more budget, more talent and a better sense of humour than the most generic creature features, Eight Legged Freaks actually proves to be a moderately entertaining, albeit undeniably terrible movie.
Of course, the landscape of creature features and Z-movies has changed hugely over the last twenty years or so, and with the advent of cheaper CGI and more accessible filmmaking opportunities, anybody can have a go at making a shark/spider/snake/octopus/bird/volcano/whatever horror-comedy, and that’s why we have films like Sharknado, Jurassic Shark, Lavalantula and Birdemic.
Back in 2002, however, the barrier to entry was a lot higher, but thanks to that, creature features didn’t always have to be totally amateurish productions, and so proves the case with Eight Legged Freaks.
Story-wise, there’s very little different to what you see on SyFy nowadays, but the one thing that this film gets right that so many worse creature features don’t is a consistent and entertaining sense of humour that both revels in the sheer mania and craziness of its premise, as well as poking fun at it whenever is warranted.
That doesn’t make the plot any more engaging, and if you’re watching this for any degree of action/horror excitement, you’ll be beyond disappointed, but where Eight Legged Freaks works best is when it comes to some of its sillier moments, and rather than being over-reliant on the idea of so-bad-it’s-good filmmaking, the movie actually writes in jokes and humour to make you laugh.
As a result, while there’s nothing to really grab onto in the story, the film doesn’t grow particularly tiresome thanks to that sense of humour. Couple that with a plethora of average but still energetic performances, and you have a film that has the gleeful playfulness to make its narrative simplicity almost entirely irrelevant.
As a horror movie, Eight Legged Freaks isn’t scary. As an action/thriller, it’s not at all exciting. As a comedy, it’s better than you may expect, and far better than the tedious and repetitive likes of Sharknado, even if it’s not necessarily the world’s most endlessly hilarious watch. But that alone is more than enough to make this film a surprisingly entertaining watch, and a perfect opportunity to spend an hour and a half with your brain turned right off, which is why I’m giving Eight Legged Freaks a 6.2 overall.