Twitter Plot Summary: A spider escapes military hands and, doubling in size at regular intervals, goes on a rampage.
Five Point Summary:
1. Slow motion introduction. Not a bad start.
2. The mismatched buddy pairing is very good.
3. Obligatory romance angle.
4. Park carnage!
5. That’s a big ass spider.
Have you ever wanted to see Lin Shaye make a pass at Greg Grunberg? No? Well you’re probably better off not watching Big Ass Spider then, as that’s the opening sequence. Big Ass Spider doesn’t beat around the bush – it does exactly what it says on the tin and knows full well that it’s a ridiculous plot with a ridiculous premise, and never shies away from that fact.
It opens with a surprisingly mellow and well structured slow motion sequence as mayhem surrounds Greg Grunberg’s Alex Mathis, an exterminator who happens to find himself stuck in the middle of the pending disaster as it develops. In true B-Movie tradition, the army show up just moments too late to catch an experimental spider that will grow exponentially until they either find a way to take it down or the spider grows until it takes over the world. This sets off a chain of events that runs through the gamut of creature feature tropes leading up to an inevitable showdown between spider and man.
In his quest to take down the spider, Alex is joined by Jose, a security guard at the hospital where the incident begins, and their buddy cop-style partnership is frequently amusing and about as left-field as you can get. Jose is given some of the best dialogue, although Grunberg marks a close second place by giving Alex a predominantly deadpan delivery. Alex knows almost intuitively how spiders think – which is rather handy – whilst Jose fits nicely into typical sidekick territory. Alex also has eyes for a female lieutenant who spurns his incredibly lame advances, just to add a bit of (unnecessary) frisson to the story.
Eagle-eyed viewers may notice a particularly fun cameo from Lloyd Kaufman, no stranger to low budget schlock himself via his work with Troma Studios. It’s a calling card to other, similarly low budget features and ideally could do with Roger Corman showing up briefly just to emphasise how director Mike Mendez approached the production. Purists will no doubt criticise it because it’s not a polished production, but then if that’s all we ever had then the movie business would be much less interesting.
The effects are as bad as you might expect, but the performances are solid and proof that if you get some moderately talented performers you’ll go a lot further on a silly idea than if you just hire the cheapest actors available. It just goes to show that, with just a little bit of effort in terms of the script and the hiring of the actors that a bad idea can go a long way. In some respects it’s a shame that Ray Wise appears to be taking things a whole lot more seriously than is really necessary, but then you could easily argue that his performance enhances the silliness of those around him. However you choose to look at it, Big Ass Spider is big dumb fun and never tries to be anything more than that. For this alone it should be commended – it certainly won’t win any awards for anything else.