***Official "EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    Hi guys. I expected to like this one, and damn if I wasn't right...this time! Here's my review!
    Eight Legged Freaks - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of 5)
    Some films move you and help you to expand your thinking. Others inspire deeply emotional responses and help you to grow (just a little) as a human being. Then there are movies in which the audience becomes a 90-minute community - hooting, hollering, and screeching in unison, yelling, squirming, and just having a plain old ball. There’s the pair of goofy 14-year-olds in the front row who scream at any provocation; behind them are three young women who involuntarily jolt upwards seven inches from their seats every nine minutes and then giggle contentedly; there’s the one goofball way in the back screaming at the character onscreen “Run you FOOL!” while other spectators laugh appreciatively at the tension release; and then there’s you, just sitting back and letting it all soak in.
    Eight Legged Freaks is a whole lot like that. The relatively packed crowd surrounding me screamed and laughed and screamed “Oh Shit!” in one joyous voice, and we all had a helluva time together. This gleefully giddy giant spider invasion may never win any Oscars, but it delivered one of the most entertaining 90-minute spectacles I’ve witnessed in a long time.
    Producer Dean Devlin described the tone of Eight Legged Freaks as ‘Half Tremors, half Gremlins’, and as I read that interview, my only thought was “Oh, I only pray that you’re right.” Well, turns out he was correct, since Eight Legged Freaks is a longtime creature-feature freak’s fondest dream come true. It’s a sinfully silly and surprisingly clever homage to old-school monster movies, and Eight Legged Freaks also puts its own unique spin on the age-old horror cliches. First-time director Ellory Elkayem obviously knows his monster movies, and the young filmmaker presents an unapologetically frantic tone in his debut effort. In ten years, Eight Legged Freaks will be discussed as fondly as Tremors is these days. (I mean, who doesn’t like Tremors??)
    The plot is as you’d expect: thanks to an inadvertent spillage of some goopy toxic waste, the sleepy desert town of Prosperity, Arizona is suddenly overrun by massive and ridiculously aggressive spiders. There’s the bouncy hopping spider, the ‘wrap you up in webs’ spiders, the big fuzzy tarantulas, and (my favorite and soon to be yours) the infamous ‘trapdoor’ spiders. And if you’re worried that a PG-13 flick may necessarily offer a skimpy body count and only a few isolated spider attacks, let your worries end here. Despite an opening act that drags a bit while introducing the various townsfolk, Eight Legged Freaks is nearly non-stop kinetic mania for almost the entire second half.
    The cast is comprised of a collection of familiar faces, with David Arquette (star of Scream, as well as those stunningly obnoxious 1-800-collect commercials) assumes the ‘hero’ role with a notable absence of trademark shrillness, while the lovely Kari Wuhrer (Anaconda) gets to play sheriff. Maybe I’m just a sap for a pretty face, but I’d contend that Wuhrer acquits herself quite well throughout the entire film. There’s a colorful assortment of off-center caricatures which make up the rest of the townsfolk, with Ric Overton (as a befuddled deputy) and Doug E. Doug (playing the world’s most paranoid radio personality) as the guys offering the best laughs.
    Yes, I said laughs, because comedy is half of what Eight Legged Freaks is all about. Sure, the gorehounds will enjoy the extensive arachnid attacks (particularly those nasty web-spinners!), but the film is infused with a truly irresistible blend of comic-book attitude, surprisingly effective slapstick, b-movie kitsch, and outright monster madness. Try to not crack a smile as composer John Ottman weaves the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ theme into one of the film’s creepier sequences and those who adore sly movie in-jokes and not-so-subtle film references will find much to enjoy. Horror devotees will also be thrilled to learn that in no way does Eight Legged Freaks skimp on the body count; this flick has more conspicuous feasting than did your last 45 trips to the Wendy’s drive-thru window.
    If you’re judging a film based on how well it accomplishes its intended mission, Eight Legged Freaks is a rousing and wholly entertaining success. Sure, there are a few subplots left dangling, many of the actors are wooden at best, and a few of the gags fall just this side of being too silly, but the bottom line is that this is just one fun movie. It never aspires to be anything more than an exciting and clever piece of eye-candy and on that level – I’d call it an instant classic. Nobody would ever mistake a Big Mac for a Filet Mignon, but sometimes that greasy fast food is a blissful treat. This flick is that Big Mac.
    Eight Legged Freaks is a textbook example of how to create an absolutely delicious b-movie treat: Take a bunch of likeably goofball characters, mix ‘em in with a gigantic, writhing bunch of disgusting creepy-crawlies, toss in a witty and fast-paced screenplay, and coat liberally with a tone of loving homage and plain old playfulness. If I were 13 years old again, Eight Legged Freaks would easily be my new favorite movie – but don’t let that fool you, because I’m 30 now and I’d absolutely recommend this addicting little thrill-ride to just about anyone (from 13 to 103) who’s asking my opinion…and can handle the sight of a thousand giant carnivorous spiders!
  2. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Since this film opens tomorrow, I am offically designating this the offical "Eight Legged Freaks" review thread. Please post all reviews, links to outside reviews, etc, here.
    Posts that are not reviews, or reviews arguing with other reviews posted here can and will be deleted without notice.
    "Eight Legged Freaks" Discussion Thread!
  3. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

    Mar 4, 2001
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    I'm not too good at writing reviews, so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.... . Just as I expected, this was a really fun film! The spiders look very groovy, and of course, my favorite aspect of this film is the heavenly Kari Wuhrer. Lots of fun and comedic action sequences, and lots of arachnid goo. I just loved how the trapdoor spiders came out of the ground and pulled down people for some tasty feasting.I liked this film even better than TREMORS, and it is a wonderful homage to monster films of the past. And of course, theres Kari Wuhrer! [​IMG] Very fun film, and I highly recommend it to any monster film fans! On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this film a solid 4 1/2!
  4. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

    Dec 1, 2000
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    I enjoyed this but still think Tremors is the best. Tremors is pure genius from beginning to end with characters who act realistically. There are no token bad guys to get munched or any hint of moralizing. With the exception of the graboids themselves, Tremors is surprisingly realistic and does not require one to forget everything one knows about science or technology or logic.

    Ok, I should probably start reviewing Eight Legged Freaks (8LF)...

    The opening of 8LF is a bit slow and, with a couple of exceptions, the characters didn't really interest me. The exceptions were good and bad: the good was the paranoid DJ who really had a thing about aliens and anal probes. The bad was a very annoying know-it-all kid. He should have been the first to get eaten.

    But the problems go away when the spiders arrive. They are the real stars of the movie. It's just so much fun to watch them jump around and eat people. Part of that fun is that the spiders themselves are having so much fun. If you listen carefully you'll hear little spider voices. I just loved those squeeky little "whee"s or "oh-oh"s. I'll admit that I was hoping the spiders would win - they were just so loveable.

    Overall, this is an enjoyable lightweight movie. Hey, giant spiders - how could one resist?

    3.75 out of 5.0
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    I thought it was okay, definitely for b-movie fans of monster insect films. The CGI was poor in spots, and average in others. The humans were the least interesting part of the film.

    I give it 2.5 stars or a grade of C+.

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