The college that I am studying at here in Australia (University of Queensland) has a large multimedia library. The other day, after finishing a paper, I thought I would reward myself by going to the DVD shelves and seeing what films I could take out to view in my newly acquired free time. I perused the sections, looking for anything that caught my eye. After about fifteen minutes of searching I came across a movie entitled “Spiders”. Now, I have never heard of this title before and maybe some of you have already seen it but this was a new experience for me. A film about giant killer spiders that were created from Alien DNA? Sign me up.
Some of you may already know that I am a huge fan of horrible creature features. Why? I don’t know, the goofiness lets my brain relax or maybe it’s just fun to have a few beers with your mates and watch some of the worst films ever created. The SyFy and Asylum films are the ones that I am talking about specifically (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega Piranha, etc), for all intents and purposes, let’s us just refer to the films as SyFy films because there is no real distinction between the companies. I can’t really explain why I am attracted to these “MEGA” movies and if you don’t like them, you have probably already gone back to your Facebook page to check for some other interesting news.
Spiders follows the tale of a college student named Marci, who works for the campus’ paper and is obsessed with government cover-ups and alien sightings. After her and her two male friends witness the crashing of a space shuttle that was supposed to burn up in the atmosphere, they are thrown into the middle of a government project that was combining alien DNA with spiders to create MEGA spiders. That is about all the story there is and really, were you looking for anything else? These SyFy films (let me correct myself again, this was a big budget film that was distributed by TRIMARK. I use the term SyFy to identify a genre and I will explain what that entails) follow a certain formula that has become more and more refined over the years. First, you have some sort of romantic (in the literary term) individual who has a job that’s trying to help the world (Marine biologist, ecologist, journalist, etc.) and through research (articles, accident, experiment) they come across something they shouldn’t seen (usually a marine creature but reptiles and arachnids are known to be used)! After they see the “secret”…thing, the character(s) try to find an outlet to show the world what happened. They never make it though because the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT is watching and they capture them for treason or whatever. After that, the films run on with insane scenes of cops and military men trying to destroy the creature(s). It is an easy formula to follow and not many divert from this, except maybe Piranha 3D (but that was actually a “good” movie”).
All of these films have something else in common; the characters are hardly watchable unless the creature is on screen too. Spiders actually starts out with dialog that you can deal with but once the actors have to act like they’re scared or being eaten, it just falls back into the SyFy trend. At first you kind-of care for these young individuals who want to find alien life but after a certain point you’re shouting, “Get that one! Get that one! Eat him!” The gore for the movie was quite excellent, that’s what may separate this film from the others. Most of the SyFy films are made for TV and therefore are unable to use explicit violence that has limbs being ripped off and buckets of blood being exploded all around. Spiders has kills in it that were impressive and gross. At one point, an astronaut who was the pilot for the crashed shuttle is acting as a host for a spider egg (think Alien). The three main characters discover him in an underground lab (common theme as well) and they want to rescue him but he begins to throw up ferociously like Linda Blaire. A spider comes bursting out of his mouth, blowing chunks of human flesh everywhere. The effects were similar to those of Carpenter’s The Thing or Cronenberg’s The Fly, very fleshy, meaty, and rubbery effects that make you cringe. Overall, I was really impressed with the amount of non-CGI work though later on in the film, they use a big CGI spider to terrorize the city. You see, every time a new spider hatches, it is larger than its predecessor. So by the end of the film (90 mins is about the typical length) you have a Mega Spider on your hands.
YES! The climax of the film! After escaping the underground lab, Marci and her newly made government agent-friend run back to the college so she can write all of these secret operations down in an article (because it will save the world, duh!). Little do they know that there waiting in the office is the head of the government agency with a spider egg deep inside him. It begins to hatch and sprouting from his back are legs. Everyone begins running outside and the college exlodes, giving us the Mega Spider. The mega spider begins to destroy the city and our two remaining protagonists steal a helicopter to chase after it. The final scene in all its insanity has Marci hanging by a rope with a rocket launcher that she uses to shoot the spider in its mouth, blowing it into stocky pieces. It is completely out of control in the end, just out of control. That is what makes this movie one of the best SyFy films because it gives you exactly what you expect and makes it over the top with plenty of gore. This is a love/hate genre, so if you read this far then I expect you to Netflix it pronto. It will not change the minds of those who love to hate these films but I wasn’t talking to you. Thank you very, very much.