Arachnophobia 1990 Movie Scene Julian Sands as Dr. James Atherton holding a spider trapped inside a jar

Arachnophobia [1990]

I was expecting a bit more carnage and frights from a nineties movie titled Arachnophobia. I mean, the PG-13 rating should have been a warning enough, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff with that rating. However, this doesn’t mean that this is a bad movie. It’s got a certain vintage charm and I guess it’s pretty scary if you have a fear of spiders. And you can bet your sweet behind that there’s no CGI here, just real spiders. This makes a couple of scenes pretty unnerving, even if you like spiders. You should also know that the production went to extreme lengths not to hurt any of the spiders during filming.

So, Arachnophobia opens with epic shots of Venezuelan wilderness, giving off a real sense of adventure. However, we’re soon back in the good old USA and an idyllic sleepy town that’s about to be overrun with spiders. I’m sure you’ve seen this formula applied many times before, especially if you’re a fan of natural horror. I remember movies like this about bees, ants, bats, and all kinds of other creatures. Which makes this a perfect time to advertise our Rabbit Reviews Natural Horror Lists. We’ve got all the creatures you would want to see terrorizing sleepy towns, so be sure to check them out. 

One of the things that I liked about this movie is the believability factor. Apart from the whole “it-follows” act, the story is quite realistic. So, there will be no eight-legged freaks here. For that, you will have to see Eight Legged Freaks starring David Arquette and young Scarlett Johansson. Which is a much more pacier and fun movie than this one. Arachnophobia has this casual and quite leisurely pace, slowly immersing into the story we’ve heard a thousand times before. Luckily, the cast is pretty good led by the charismatic Jeff Daniels and Julian Sands. Plus we get the opportunity to see John Goodman as Delbert McClintock, comic relief exterminator.

Ross Jennings just moved to the small town of Canaima, California with his family. He’s a doctor and tired of the hustle and bustle of a big city, he’s hoping to start fresh here. However, the old town doctor doesn’t want to give up his practice despite his old age. At the same time, another Canaima resident is also having some problems. He’s deep in the Venezuelan jungle when a spider bites him, starting a chain of events that could result in a catastrophe.

I have to admit that by the end of Arachnophobia I was cheering for the spiders to eat them all. They were following the instructions on how to make a creature movie to the fucking letter. Live a little for fucks sake! Give me something I wouldn’t expect or a cheeky joke. Although I will have to admit that the whole thing felt hypnotizing and strangely soothing. Complete with the ye olde “I’m a mortician who eats in the morgue while noobs are trying not to vomit”. I think that with a bit more balls and creativity, this could have been a cult classic. However, I think it’s still worth a watch. Especially if you’re feeling nostalgic and you’ve seen all of the eighties and nineties movies with the same vibes.

Finally, if you’re looking for something with a little bit of a kick to it check out Slither, Stung, Phantoms or The Blob.

Director: Frank Marshall

Writers: Don Jakoby, Al Williams, Wesley Strick

Cast: Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, John Goodman, Harley Jane Kozak, Stuart Pankin, Roy Brocksmith

Fun Facts: The animatronic General Spider that shows up at the end of the movie is the work of none other than Jamie Hyneman of his MythBusters


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