22nd Dec2013

‘Big Ass Spider’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Clare Kramer, Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, Lloyd Kaufman | Written by Gregory Gieras | Directed by Mike Mendez


When it comes to movies about giant animals, fish, reptiles and insects Syfy and The Asylum pretty much have that genre dominated.  Normally low quality they sometimes entertain but often show a certain quality where it feels it’s more about making a quick buck than making a good movie.  With Sharknado they manage to turn this around and showed that these movies can actually be good.  Now though a film has appeared that shows how to do the modern day creature feature and focus on what should be more important, character chemistry (and acting ability).  What film is this you ask? Big Ass Spider!

When an alien spider is set free in LA exterminator Alex Mathis (Grunberg) finds himself in the middle of the hunt for it.  With the help of Jose Ramos (Boyar) they fight to hunt down the spider, destroy its eggs before they hatch and save the girl, Lieutenant Karly Brant (Kramer).

The story for Big Ass Spider! Is fairly formulaic, with an alien spider that grows to a huge size and threatens the world by multiplying and eating anything in its way.  What makes a difference though is the writing and the characters.  Grunberg and Boyar work well together as the comic duo who look for fame and fortune hunting down the spider, and actually manage to do better than the army who are also on the trail of the arachnid.  To show the quality of the cast it’s nice to see Ray Wise as Major Braxton Tanner and Clare Kramer, who we all of course remember as Glory from Buffy as not only the love interest but also a badass soldier.  To add to the b-movie credentials we also have Lloyd Kaufman making an appearance as a jogger who soon becomes spider food.

What makes Big Ass Spider! Work is the understanding that it should never take itself seriously, the script is full of banter between the two underdog characters Mathis and Ramos, and by all rights the way they bumble their way through situations they should probably be the first to die, yet through luck they manage to become the heroes as unlikely as that may be.  The chemistry between the two is what makes the film fun, but of course we can’t forget the spider who does have a part to play in the fun.

The spider itself is CGI heavy and in all fairness with most modern monster movies like this there is a reliance on these types of special effects but there are many times that this can be the downfall for some films for me.  Thankfully though Big Ass Spider! Is an example where the quality of the acting, the likability of the characters and overall chemistry between the cast overshadow the special effects weaknesses.  Yes, there are times that the spider does look slightly false, but in truth you won’t care, you’ll be too busy laughing at something that Grunberg or Boyar has said.  It’s the relationship between the two underdogs that holds the movie together and makes it fun.

Big Ass Spider! is what I would call a charming film that will win you over with its sharp use of comedy and well put together cast.  Where many monster movies fall into the trap of going way too overboard with the silliness there is a strange believability in Big Ass Spider! because it feels grounded, and it’s more about the characters than just trying to overload the audience with outlandish attacks, though this is not to say it takes itself too seriously, Big Ass Spider! is a film that is made knowing what it is and keeps the entertainment level at a high.  Funny and above all fun Big Ass Spider! is a must see for the fans of creature features and b-movie madness.

Big Ass Spider! is released in the United Kingdom on DVD and Blu-Ray December 23rd.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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