Written by: jamhorner
This movie, in all intentions, was one of the best spider horror movies ever. If I remember correctly it was categorized as a “thrillomedy.” Despite it having a funny feel to it and having it being one upped by Eight Legged Freaks, this movie had some pretty creepy moments because I still don’t like spiders. It started John Goodman and Jeff Daniels. This movie was awesome and I still watch it today. It had a b-movie plot, with an a movie budget, it had some very funny moments and some pretty creepy moments and of course there were some down right cheesy parts to it, but I can’t stress how much of a thrill and experience this movie is for any horror fan or comedy guru.
I want to first literate that this movie was supposed to be taken seriously as a horror but it gained even more fame and recognition as a thrill ride into a soft cushion. The spider effects, including giants spiders and webbed coated skeletons are cheesy, I know that, but give in mind there intention was to, I hope, make it have a b-movie feel to it. Despite that, you should look beyond that and notice how creepy they can make a felt spider or a puppet spider seem so creepy and intense (i.e. the shower scene and end scenes when the spiders crawl all over the house). However, if the spiders give you the creeps, this movie successfully makes a death seem funny, no matter how terrible it is. Coming from Frank Marshall who was a new director back then but later produced many favorable horror movies.
I can’t talk about this movie without talking about the humor and how well it is played into this film. There were so many hilarious things about this movie that I can’t cram it into this one review. I would first off like to say that John Goodman is the funniest person in that whole show, and despite his low on-screen time, he steals the show. His monotone character fits with his performance and the way that he reacts to certain “little” things in the movie really makes me laugh. For an example, when he notices that the wood is rotting from the basement ceiling up, he asks if he can “rip it out.” Then happily says, “You need better wood, not bad wood.” Delbert is the funniest person there. Funny parts such as a blatant satire and parody on the shower scenes from Psycho when the spider comes out of the showerhead, which was funny! I’ll go as far to say that the theme of the movie was hysterically put in just the right moments to lighten up the moment.
Jeff Daniels, who is a very well known and well-respected actor, gets a chance to move away from a demanding drama role and away from the Farrelly Brothers and has some fun. In some way, he pokes fun at all of his dramatic rolls and acts a bit over the top at some of the best moments and surprisingly does a great job playing a guy who has arachnophobia, who now has to battle spiders. There were other great acting performances by Julian Sands, Stuart Pankin and Brian McNamara.
All in all, this movie was a fantastic thrill ride that takes you to arachnophobia hell and back to hysterical bliss. The scares and the laughs are in abundance and both share an equal balance. The acting was perfect for a movie of this caliber and the special effects were a great tribute to b-movies of the 80s and 70s. I would highly recommend this movie to horror fans who like to take it light and not get scared as much, however, given the fact it is spiders, a lot of people share the condition that this movie is named. But, if you are truly a hard-core horror fan, than this movie is a must. If you have arachnophobia, I would not recommend this movie solely because you might inadvertently enhance your fear of spiders. I know it has for me.