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Big Ass Spider



big-ass-spiderReviewer :Liam Griffiths

Release Date: 27th April 2013

Starring: Greg Grunberg Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lombardo Boyar

Directed By: Mike Mendez

I remember when B-movies were silly, energetic and entertaining. Instead, modern B-movies concern themselves with a laugh-out-loud ‘concept’, instead of laugh-out-loud content. There are so many Mega Sharks, Ghost Sharks and I don’t know, fucking Ninja Sharks flying around these days that it’s often hard to tell what’s worth your time. Big Ass Spider! could have easily gone the same way, but it manages to steer completely clear of mediocrity, emerging triumphantly somewhere in the middle of greatness.

Heroes alumni Greg Grunberg stars as a blue-collar exterminator, who steps bravely into battle when an enormous genetically-engineered arachnid stomps across town. Teaming up with Latino hospital security guard Jose and the tough-as-nails Major Braxton (played by the always entertaining b-movie mainstay Ray Wise), he must use all his knowledge of the creature to bring it down, save the day and kiss the girl.

Grunberg is properly charismatic here, using his every-man looks and comic timing to perfection, while Lombardo Boyar infuses the clueless Hispanic sidekick with an undeniable charm and hilarity that elevates him way above the lazy stereotype he could have been. Much of the movie is held up by the comic chemistry between the two leads, and watching them deal with potentially life-threatening situations with an equal mix of misplaced bravado and child-like enthusiasm is never short of charming. Throw in a love interest in the form of Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer, Bring It On, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) and the chemistry only gets more potent, allowing for some excellent dialogue scenes in-between the monster mayhem.

Modern B-movies gain a lot of their ironic comedy recognition from the horrible CGI creatures shambling disjointedly through a crowd of confused, not-sure-where-to-look actors, but Big Ass Spider! stands apart by making sure most of the budget went on the titular web-spinner. It’s not quite WETA Workshop but it’s several steps above any of it’s SyFy Original ilk, and works well enough to effortlessly integrate the creature into the film’s setting and style. There’s also some surprising moments of gore that show up out of nowhere, something that daft movies about giant killer monsters often forget to include.

Director Mike Mendez (working from a script by Gregory Gieras) puts great care and attention to the small pockets of humour in between the perilous heroism displayed by his characters, as well as putting the beats in the right places for the plot. Big Ass Spider! is a movie that gets going and never really stops; every scene is enthusiastic, bombastic, silly (and even a little bit creepy when appropriate), which makes for an entertaining ride that should keep you smiling until the credits roll.

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