Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Ass Spider!

2013  ***1/2

Exclamation point!

I'll admit that reviewing this after Sharknado might feel like a cheat; all I have to do is slap the first review in the Review-o-Matic and twiddle a couple of knobs, right?  Well, yes and no.   I have not delved too deeply into the chronology of this recent wave of cheap 'n shlocky cable TV monster flicks, this endless parade Roger Corman's bastard grandchildren.  (What was first?  Sharktopus?)  But in my own uninformed way I'm declaring Big Ass Spider! as the totally awesome end-product that is spawned by the Sharknados of the world, that being the much, much better cheap 'n shlocky monster movie.

"But wait a second!"  I hear you say, "you gave Sharknado a whole four stars and this only 3 and a half!  What gives?"  Allow me to explain myself, after congratulating you on purchasing the affordable and useful Octopunk's Reviews App for your phone, which the only way you'd notice that so fast:

For some odd reason I like to stick to our 5 star system as best as I can, and folding the "So Bad It's Good" movies into that system is important to me (Godmonster of Indian Flats being the only exception, but I give myself a pass for that movie).  I can only hope the review I put below the rating can explain where I'm coming from.  Much of Sharknado's high rating is a result of the unexpected fun level generated by all the incompetence, whereas Big Ass Spider! was made to a higher standard and misses that particular slice of clumsy charm.  Nevertheless, it still earns a respectable rating and enthusiastic recommendation from yours truly.

So what is this quality I keep talking about?  For Exhibit A I offer the first three minutes of the movie, which approaches the subject matter with more poetry and respect than nearly all of its monster movie peers.  And hold off watching until you can take in the music.  

I wish this clip ended like it does the movie; when the screen goes black it's just the words BIG ASS SPIDER! in bold white letters.

Even if that didn't float your boat, you can see what I mean.   Any art-house approach to this material is going to involve some level of intelligence (meaning: no Tara Reid).  Is it campy, tongue-in-cheek, wink-to-the-audience kind of stuff?  It is a little bit.  I don't think you can call your movie that and not be publicly in on your own joke.  But they don't blow it.  That core sincerety, that thing I keep insisting floats or sinks bizarro projects like this -- it's definitely there.  

I can also endorse the horror/comedy hybrid in this case.  Of all horror genres, giant monster movies might be the easiest one for folding in humor without undercutting where the action is coming from.  But better than that, the humor in this movie is actually funny, with something like a 65% to 85% success rate.  

Jeez this review is reading like a my 8th grade report on the exports of Chile.  

See Big Ass Spider!  The spider is freaking HUGE!  Watch a spider/pickup truck chase scene that's more exciting than anything in a Transformers movie!  Ray Wise is in it!  Laura Palmer's dad!  Watch Big Ass Spider suck people up with webs or maybe just stab them dead for no reason!  Big Ass Spider doesn't give a FUCK!


Crystal Math said...

Ray Wise! Holy shit! He sure is making the rounds, eh? Last year I saw him in Dead End. To me, that man can't be anything other than creepy.

Catfreeek said...

SOLD! I'm all in, you know I love me some giant monster flicks. As always, your review is stellar. It may not make this Horrorthon for me but rest assured there is a big ass spider nestled safely in my queue just waiting for me to push play.

JPX said...

I reviewed this last year and gave it 3 stars. I completely agree with your review. There's just something about it that didn't quite work. I think it's the intentional b-movie wink wink that bugged me (e.g. Sharknado 2)

Octopunk said...

JPX, it sounds like you and I are just on the opposite sides of that line. Except for a few jokes that didn't fly, I thought this did work.

If anyone cares, that cover of The Pixies song "Where is My Mind is by a singer named Storm Large. I only know about her because she's the secondary female vocalist for Pink Martini, one of my favorite bands. I saw her perform with them last year and she's pretty incredible. Kind of like a drag queen except she's actually a woman.

AC said...

Almost watched this today! If I don't run out of time will try to cram it in by Friday.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Watching this movie right now!