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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)



Reviews and Comments

I almost liked Eight Legged Freaks. I tend to like creature features that manage being atmospheric and creepy while still retaining a sense of humor about themselves. Mimic and Anaconda are two good ones, and Eight Legged Freaks almost fits in amongst them. Certainly I enjoyed a lot of it -- maybe even most of it. But it steers wrong in the final act when it shows too many people getting mowed down by giant spiders. It's too much, too horrific. It's one thing when a beastie takes out a few individuals: the early victims establish the nature of the threat; later victims are either villains getting their comeuppance or tragedies treated as such. But dozens upon dozens of people die in Eight Legged Freaks all in the name of rousing action. It's not personal. It's not even personal when characters we know get eaten. This insensitivity grows increasingly wrong in tone, culminating in the startlingly inappropriate final shots, when the survivors crack corny jokes, unphased, it seems by the fact that the majority of the residents of an entire town have just perished.

I want to be able to recommend Eight Legged Freaks, because so much of the movie finds just the right balance between chills and camp. For chills, there is a lot of reaching into dark places and never knowing what's just around the corner or beyond the reach of the flashlight. For camp, there are spider coughs and squeals, and a spider and a cat fighting so violently in the walls of a house that body parts of both become imprinted on the walls in relief. Yes, I want to be able to recommend it, but I guess I'll settle for recommending it only to those who enjoyed Mimic and Anaconda enough to want more.