Eight Legged Freaks


Rating 2¼

Directed by Ellory Elkayem

Written by Ellory Elkayem and Jesse Alexander, based on a story by Ellory Elkayem and Randy Kornfield

Starring David Arquette (Chris McCormack), Kari Wührer (Sheriff Samantha Parker), Scarlett Johansson (Ashley Parker), Scott Tera (Mike Parker), Doug E Doug (Harlan Griffith), Rick Overton (Deputy Pete Willis), Leon Rippy (Wade), Matt Czuchry (Bret), Jay Arlen Jones (Leon), Eileen Ryan (Gladys) and Tom Noonan (Joshua)

The small mining town of Prosperity, Arizona has fallen on hard times and the local Mayor, Wade, is trying to persuade the townsfolk to sell the mines and relocate. Chris McCormack returns to town after an absence of ten years. His father had owned the mines and he refuses to sell. A local water hole has been infected by toxic waste and the town is soon laid siege by a variety of exotic giant spiders who have escaped from eccentric arachnid collector Joshua.


‘Eight Legged Freaks’ is a 2002 comedy horror homage to 1950’s monster movies like ‘Them!’ and ‘Tarantula’. It follows a similar path to the slightly earlier ‘Evolution’ and the later ‘Slither’ – and, to a lesser degree, Tim Burton’s highly stylised ‘Mars Attacks!’ It’s reasonably successful in what it sets out to do, but I was hoping for more and came away disappointed. The characters are not interesting enough, especially the supporting cast of “townsfolk”, who are featureless in the extreme, and a subplot about the Mayor’s dirty dealings goes nowhere.

David Arquette does what he always does; playing a role that is more or less a variation of his character in ‘Scream’. He is a likeable enough actor. Of the rest of the cast, the only two I instantly recognised are Doug E Doug, who is best known for ‘Cool Running’ and his role in the long-running television series ‘Cosby’, and Scarlett Johansson, a year after ‘Ghost World’ and a year before ‘Girl with a Perl Earring’ and ‘Lost in Translation’. Hers is a nothing role here.

In the end, I just don’t think the film is as likeable as it should have been. Maybe it was reaction to not finding the idea of giant spiders much fun.

The film has a 48% rotten rating from 141 reviews collected at Rotten Tomatoes. 67 of these reviews are adjudged to have been positive and 74 are negative. It had a production budget of $30 million and pulled in a worldwide gross a little under $46 million at the box office. Its domestic gross was just over $17 million, making the film a commercial flop.

Review posted 11 May 2009


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