14th Oct2013

31 Days of Horror: ‘Spiders 3D’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Patrick Muldoon, Christa Campbell, William Hope, Shelly Varod, Pete Lee-Wilson, Jon Mack, Sydney Sweeney | Written by Joseph Farrugia | Directed by Tibor Takacs

Spiders3D

I love a good (or so bad its good) monster movie – as you can probably tell by the number of them I’ve reviewed here at Nerdly. So when a new one comes along I’m always excited to see what “delights” they will bring. Will they do something original? Or be completely off the wall? Recently the monster movie has seen a resurgence of the “nature gone wild” format – in particular the killer shark movie. But sharks are not only mans greatest enemy, well not if low-budget horror and sci-fi are to be believed, we also have to fear spiders… Giant spiders!

From the black and white terror of Tarantula in the Fifties to the hilarious comedy horror of Eight Legged Freaks, giant spiders (and spiders in general) have been waging war on humans – at least in the movies – for over half a century. And no where more has that battle been prevalent than in the straight to video market… If it’s not Syfy channel commissioned horrors such as Ice Spiders (directed by Tibor Takacs, who also helmed this film), it’s high-concept, low-budget, CG-filled tosh like Spiders 3D

Spiders 3D (which for complete transparency I only watched in 2D as I was sent the bog-standard DVD for review, not the 3D Blu-ray) sees an abandoned Soviet space station crash land in New York, releasing a new species of alien spiders in the sewers of the metropolis. Quickly these poisonous arachnids mutate and start growing to gigantic proportions and it’s down to a group of intrepid scientists and soldiers to stop their reign of destruction and annihilation flail about stupidly, doing much and achieving nothing; whilst a NY subway controller battles to save his family AND the city.

In the pantheon of “spider cinema” I have two ever-lasting favourites: the big-budget (well at least in terms of this sub-genre) Eight Legged Freaks, directed by Ellory Elkayem, who also helmed the bug-infested They Nest which was released in 2000, the same year as my other favourite spider-flick, Spiders. Helmed by Gary Jones, who later went on to direct another nature run amok flick in Crocodile 2 and starring a very young Lana Parilla, who many will know as the evil Queen Regina from ABC’s current hit show Once Upon a Time, 2000′s Spiders is a little-seen, under-regarded example of the genre that’s ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to these types of genre flicks – and as such it’s my measuring stick for all other spider-related movies of the B-variety.

So how does Spiders 3D measure up? Badly. But not THAT badly.

The films major failing, besides the less-than-stellar CGI spiders, is a total lack of empathy for any of the characters involved – undoubtedly due to a total lack of character development. Takacs and co. launch straight into the film without so much as a brief backstory for any of the characters and so the audience is thrown in at the deep end – yet the script still doesn’t fill us in on the situation as the film goes on. All we know about any of the characters involved is that Patrick Muldoon’s character is estranged from his wife (played by Christa Campbell) and kid and the army are actually working behind the scenes to capture the queen spider to harvest her bullet-proof webbing. That’s it. There’s not even the possibility of the audience filling in the blanks as we’re not given the slightest bit of much-need character information at any point in proceedings.

Of course Spiders 3D isn’t the worst example of the genre I’ve ever seen but it sadly can’t achieve any more then mediocrity – and I say that as someone who’s actually a big fan of director Tibor Takacs – after all, this is the man that unleashed The Gate on an unsuspecting 80s tween audience (myself included) back in 1987! I will say that this film does improve on Takacs’ previous spider-outing, the Syfy channel movie Ice Spiders which, fact-fans, also starred Patrick Muldoon in the lead role (which means Muldoon is now 2-nil up on the worlds giant spider population) but in the grand scheme of DTV spider movies that’s not saying very much.

But hey, no one goes into a giant spider expecting high art do they?

Spiders 3D is out now from Lionsgate.

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