Alright guys, I’ll level with you – I hate spiders. Everyone has that one creepy, crawly thing that grosses them out to no end, and the thought of a little fat fuzzy black arachnid scurrying by my toes gives me instantaneous chills. Just one of those things that isn’t for me, yeah? But don’t think I hide my eyes when they’re around or anything, as I love catching Eight Legged Freaks whenever it’s running on syndication, so I took Tibor Takács’ Spiders 3D as a welcome festival opener.
A throwback to the B-Movie creature features of old, undoubtably having scientists meddle with something small, growing it to gargantuan sizes only to cause destruction? Sounds like a good time to me, especially since Tibor is a veteren of these types of flicks, such as Ice Spiders, Mega Snake, Kraken: Tentacles Of The Deep, Sabrina The Teenage Witch…wait what? I would have loved to hear how he got involved in all that, repeated times, just out of film geek curiosity.
So began Spiders 3D, low and behold introducing the notion that dirty Commie russkies were playing god some years ago and messing with spider DNA in space to create some sort of super strong synthetic webbing, ultimately to be used for weaponry. Fast forward to 2012 New York City, where a piece of the now overrun space station has crash landed in a subway tunnel, unleashing the genetically enhanced arachnids to breed in the tunnels. As time goes on, we learn our own government is working with the mad scientist Dr. Darnoff (Wilson) to keep them nesting, with the end goal of using the queen for their own military benefit. Too bad local mass transit supervisor Jason (Muldoon) is hot on the case, trying to protect his family and uncover the secrets our own officials are hiding. Damn government officials, always playing god and letting gigantic versions of usually insignificant lifeforms threaten our towns!
So everything sounds grand right? Big budget ridiculousness in the form of giant town crushing, soldier dominating spiders running amok? That’s where everything stopped for me, the idea, which saddens me because I love Tibor’s The Gate, but Spiders 3D was just cut and dry generic poppycock. There was no individuality, no creative ambitiousness, no cult worshipping worth, dull creature design, lackluster CGI that was shown up by one of the previous low-budget short films, uninspired acting from grossly predictable characters that saw no fun amongst such a silly genre – I was not on par with what Tibor delivered that night.
Eight Legged Freaks worked because director Ellory Elkayem was able to channel small town charm and cheeky horror writing which was easily identifiable, much alike James Gunn’s own wonderful creature flick Slither. Here, we see Tibor attempt to produce something darker and more realistic, regarding spiders big enough to play in the NBA. I couldn’t buy into the horribly schlocky mess that unfolded from such an ill-fated attempt to produce a taut thriller, and was lost amongst shaky acting and the most general of character arcs, being five steps ahead of the characters themselves.
Instead of laughing from joy or watching spiders zip-lining down cables and making vaguely human squeals of entertainment, we instead got these hyper fast darkly shaded CGI beasties that offered very little definitive characteristic, and were easily handled by even a spider hater like me. I hate to admit it, but I wanted to be irked and feel uncomfortable, because that would have signified some awesome special effects and a nemesis worth cowering from. Even the mean nasty queenie was a let down, which stood right along with the tallest buildings, and was some of the worst animated work amongst the film, being cloudy, shaded, and blurred instead of glorifying and grandiose, like a boss battle in Shadow Of The Colossus. These spiders were more like an insignificant insect hidden in the shadows of said colossus, making it hard not to feel let down.
Spiders 3D is something that surely should have went directly to the Sy-fy channel, premiering some Saturday night at 9:00 after a marathon of insect features like Mansquito, Ice Spiders, Camel Spiders, Spiders…you get my drift. That’s the kind of quality we’re looking at here people, straight to DVD slacking so blatant the film didn’t even portray New York City subways right, as me and a friend joked at how nice the stations in Spiders 3D looked and how we’d love to use those. Attention to detail maybe? This is normally something I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash at, but with nothing else to focus on, I couldn’t help but pick out such insignificant notions.
I’m all about independent cinema, don’t think I’m a mainstream snob, but Spiders 3D is that kind of misguided genre film which does nothing to further a highly creative medium, ignoring advancement, existing as a re-hashed and sluggish bore. Accompany that with straight to DVD writing and vom-tastically forgettable characters, and you’ve got a horror film which spins a web weaker and cheesier than most fluffy Halloween decorations. Everyone means well involved, but with some many other horror movies making waves and pushing boundaries, Spiders 3D looks like nothing but a weak attempt in cult appreciation, made worse by an overall boring watch.
Each and every short displayed before Tibor’s film had more life than Spiders 3D, and I can only hope our director returns to form come his next inevitable creature centric film.