If you’re looking for a fun creature feature look no further than Eight Legged Freaks. This is a classic natural horror movie with just the right amount of humor, action, and frights. Especially if you don’t like spiders. You already know the story as a chemical spill causes spiders to grow and attack a sleepy little town. This extends to the general atmosphere of the movie that’s also very familiar. And why it wouldn’t be when the executive producers are Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. This duo was behind some of my favorite movies of the nineties like Independence Day and Stargate.
Since Eight Legged Freaks is about giant spiders just think of it as Godzilla on a budget. And yes, you guessed it, our gruesome twosome was also behind that movie. So, after almost twenty years how did this movie hold up? Well, the effects are pretty solid, for the most part. There were a couple of scenes in which you could see that this is early CGI but nothing that would spoil your viewing pleasure. However, the atmosphere, pacing and storytelling were excellent. This movie zips at a pretty fast tempo, leaving you thoroughly entertained. I also like how they used several different species of spiders, each with its distinctive behavior.
The sleepy little mining town of Prosperity, Arizona is on a brink of bankruptcy. The new big mall turned out to be quite a failure and the mines near the town are all but depleted. Chris McCormick decides to return to his hometown just in time to vote on the latest proposition by the corrupt mayor Wade. He wants to sell the entire town to a shady corporation. However, that will soon be the least of their problems…
The cast of Eight Legged Freaks is just perfect. First, we have David Arquette as the prodigal son proving that he’s really a versatile actor who can handle even lead roles in “big movies”. I’ve had a crush on Kari Wuhrer ever since I saw her in Beastmaster 2, so you know I’m just gonna praise the hell out of her. I would recommend checking out Phoenix and Sensation, as she was great in both of these movies. Finally, we also have the opportunity to see young Scarlett Johansson, showing off her talents as the rebellious teenager Ashley. You could see right away that she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
The art of making this type of movie is getting the script and general story just right. The stuff about the spiders and action scenes are all easy to do, this is the important stuff. So, here we can see a really nice small-town vibe with a corrupt mayor, dying economy, and old money slowly going away. The same goes for the character development with a couple of typical family issues. It’s all done very tastefully so it doesn’t interfere with our main story of arac attack. Which was the original title for this movie until David Arquette blurted out Eight Legged Freaks during filming one of the reaction scenes. And the rest was history.
If you’re looking for movies like Eight Legged Freaks, I suggest you take a look at It Came from the Desert, featured in our Death Walking Terror: Movies about Ants list. Released in 2017, it looks great with pretty solid special effects and the atmosphere is also lively and entertaining, just like here.
Director: Ellory Elkayem
Writers: Ellory Elkayem, Randy Kornfield, Jesse Alexander
Cast: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Leon Rippy, Doug E. Doug, Matt Czuchry
Fun Facts: Shot for the relatively low cost of $30 million. A third of that budget went on the special effects.