Director Mike Mendez’s horror comedy “Big Ass Spider!” constantly straddles the line of pure idiocy and at any moment has the potential to be so. Surprisingly, “Big Ass Spider!” isn’t just a really funny buddy comedy, but a really creepy horror film. What’s so interesting about the movie is that the title sums up what the entire film is about. There’s no metaphor, or symbolism, or sugar coating. It’s a movie about a big ass spider, pure and simple. If you want to see a giant spider on a rampage, this film delivers on every aspect.
Greg Grunberg is hilarious as struggling exterminator Alex Mathis. After being bitten by a poisonous spider, he ends up in the hospital and much to his chagrin, a deadly giant spider has stowed away in a dead body brought in while he’s in the ER. After the spider bites the mortician, it escapes through the ducts and begins preying on patients, while Alex agrees to capture the spider. Little does he know the spider is a genetically engineered beast that is increasing in size, and the army has just intervened to stop it. Most of “Big Ass Spider!” is based around Alex trying to stop the spider, and the spider rampaging and murdering anyone it hungers for. The kill scenes from the spider are often gruesome and disturbing, as it holds no prisoners.
It gives a vicious bite to a mortician, sprays the face off of a poor hobo with acid, and eats Lloyd Kaufman in a park. The larger it grows the deadlier and more menacing it becomes. Mathis teams with a very inept security guard named Jose, who wants an adventure and is intent on stopping the spider along with Alex. For some odd reason, the pair of misfits are drawn to one another, and they become an unlikely pair of heroes, taking on the spider and using their wits to think one step ahead of the military. Lombardo Boyar is hysterical in the role as Mexican security guard Jose, who responds to horrific situations with raucous one-liners, and seems to have genuinely good intentions toward killing the spider.
The chemistry between Grunberg and Boyar really helps move the film along at a brisk and brutally funny pace, while the spider feeds on everyone it comes across. While the special effects aren’t top notch, it’s still a very well designed and creepy beast that spares no one. Normally directors display restraint due to a low budget, but director Mendez pulls no punches. He not only features gruesome kill scenes, but also stages a huge massacre in a public park where the giant spider slaughters a bunch of patrons, eating them alive and impaling them with its legs. “Big Ass Spider!” revels in its silliness, and has a good time with its premise, creating a fun monster movie, and a platform for Greg Grunberg to yet again play the charming inadvertent hero.