Starring: David Carpenter, Lesley Harter, et al.
Director: Gary Jones

Format: PAL



The title of Spiders is a bit of a misnomer: Spider (singular instead of plural) would be more apt since we never really get to see more than one spider at a time unfortunately. Think Eight Legged Freaks, but after severe budget cuts and you'll know what I mean.

The spider in question is aptly named ?Mother-in-Law? (ho, ho) and is the product of NASA injecting alien DNA into a tarantula spider. (Now you know where your tax money is going to . . .) All of this is done in the weightlessness of space aboard the space shuttle, Solaris.

Oh, I should have told you: Spiders is filled with unexpected movie in-jokes and humor, which is sort of nice since its makers obviously knew that they were making a silly creature feature B-movie and decided to have some fun with it all. Along the way we have aliens from Alpha Centauri with New Jersey accents, the truth about the ultimate fate of Jim Morrison and John F. Kennedy and even lines from other movies (such as Star Wars - "I have a bad feeling about this . . .") stolen verbatim.

The space shuttle Solaris is however struck by a solar flare (oh, the irony!) and Mother-in-Law escapes, and promptly starts killing off the astronauts. Solaris has to make an emergency crash landing at a top secret facility imaginatively called Area 21.

Having no doubt seen Capricorn One, NASA however tells the public that the shuttle has burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Only problem is that at that very moment a college newspaper journalist named Marci (Lana Parrilla) and her two male sidekicks are investigating said top secret government facility and sees the whole thing happen. Now, how's that for a coincidence?

Marci (who like X-Files? Fox Mulder is a true believer) decided to take the word of mentioned aliens with New Jersey accents and investigate said government facility in the Californian desert. Luckily for her and her two cohorts (do you really need three people to cover one story for a college newspaper?) security at the highly secret facility is quite lax, and before you can say Nancy Drew they manage to infiltrate it.

Of course said monstrous CGI spider is also on the loose inside and we soon have the prerequisite running though dark basements scenes. Things however pick up later when said spider goes on rampage at Marci?s college and we have L.A. cops with pump-action shotguns in hot pursuit, not to mention out heroes with a uranium depleted shell shoulder-mounted rocket launcher in a drab olive green helicopter with no visible markings. ("Hold fire," one cop exclaims, "That's a government helicopter." Indeed.)

Spiders has clunky dialogue, bad acting, cheap (but not as bad as you'd expect) special effects and plot holes large enough to fit a mutant spider of Godzilla-like proportions. Yup, it's a bad movie all right, but at least it is reasonably energetic and fast-paced. There are even two genuine startles (it is however not particularly scary).

THE DISC: Region-free PAL distributed by UK-based Hollywood Ltd. who specialises in either long-forgotten flicks (such as Creator and The Final Countdown) and straight-to-video crud (such as this). Full screen transfer isn't too bad though and the sound is clear enough also considering the movie's el cheap-o origins. The trailer is of the 1970s variety: narrator-less and gives away the entire movie - don't watch it beforehand!

WORTH IT? It's a bad movie on DVD for only the fraction of the price of a good one!

RECOMMENDATION: Bring along a healthy sense of irony and Spiders can be quite fun in the way only cheesy straight-to-video fare can be.



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