Admittedly, I was scared a little when I saw Dean Devlin’s name in the credits, but his influence seems surprisingly restrained and minimized only to special effects. “Eight Legged Freaks” is a loving and raucous homage to the fifties giant features and a rather great one at that. Rather than try to depict a stern narrative about a spider invasion, director Ellory Elkayem embraces the silliness and instead provides a pulpy monster movie with vicious violence, and some damn good dark comedy.
After a bin of toxic waste is accidentally dumped in the small town of Prosperity, Arizona, super large crickets are fed to spiders which, by a freak occurrence, mutate in to spiders the size of Buicks, with twice the hunger. When the spiders break loose and decide to feast on the town, Sheriff Sam Parker, her two children, loyal deputy, and ex-lover Chris McCormick, must figure out a way to stop the monstrous horde of predators. But that proves difficult when their only means of announcing their invasion is through the air waves of a known town lunatic. What made “Eight Legged Freaks” such a blast, among many aspects, was the unusual casting that helped lend Elkayem’s film an eccentricity.
David Arquette’s humble inadvertent hero lends a great comedic bent, while folks like Scarlett Johannsen and Kari Wuhrer add to a film with strong heroic presence and nobility that make them immensely empathetic and likable. The special effects for the spiders are fantastic, giving them a unique look and personality, all the while enhancing the Looney Tunes aesthetic director Elkayem seems to strive for. There are spiders galore and lots of cool death scenes including a battle with a cat inside a wall, and a massive invasion in a local mall. “Eight Legged Freaks” a fun, fantastic homage to the B movies of the golden age of horror cinema, filled with laughs, creeps, and excellent monster movie fodder.