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2013 | 89 min | PG-13 | 1.85:1



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Theatrical release date

 08 February, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from Spiders 3D Blu-ray

Spiders Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, February 15, 2013

“Spiders” is a latest attempt to bring the creature feature explosion of the 1950s to the modern age, and the newest example of why the genre should remain in stasis, or perhaps regulated to the intentional ridiculousness of basic cable productions. While giant spiders rampaging around New York City sound like an amusing, potentially thrilling night at the movies, “Spiders” doesn’t have the budget, the talent, or the ingenuity to really explore the potential of the premise. Disappointingly backlot-bound and teeming with halfhearted chase sequences, the effort is stale and repetitive, failing to create a worthy and suitably diverting cinematic panic.

A Soviet satellite from the 1980s has returned to Earth, crashing in the middle of New York City, deep into the subway system. Its cargo is a nest of spiders genetically engineered from alien DNA, with the ability to spin webs that could revolutionize national defense weapons and industrial products. Expecting a normal day at his job as a subway dispatcher, Jason (Patrick Muldoon) instead finds a major mess once the spiders begin taking victims, building a fortress underneath the city, prompting government forces to shut down the area and concoct a viral attack story to keep away the curious. Inadvertently removing the queen egg from the area, passing his findings off to CDC employee, and his estranged wife, Rachel (Christa Campbell), Jason stumbles into a vast conspiracy, discovering a sinister plan that allows the spiders to take the city in an effort to encourage their web production. With his daughter, Emily (Sydney Sweeney), quarantined at home, Jason and Rachel race to retrieve their little girl, only to find an army of spiders blocking their path.

The co-writer/director here is Tibor Takacs, a longstanding television and DTV helmer who’s perhaps best remembered for his work on the 1987 chiller, “The Gate.” “Spiders” isn’t exactly a challenging endeavor for the filmmaker, but there’s a certain sense of fandom behind the work that keeps the feature away from becoming a total disaster. It appears that Takacs really wants to a craft a loving ode to the mutant creature extravaganzas of his youth, likely viewing “Spiders” as his very own “Them!” However, the innocence of such a venture is quickly lost to painful routine, finding the script barely making an effort to liven up the proceedings with unexpected characterizations and chase scenarios. Even the giant spider premise is on the tired side, though its origin story as a satellite science experiment has potential the production isn’t interested in developing beyond the opening five minutes of the movie.

Instead of screen energy, we have a harassed, desperate dad as our lead character, with a teary wife at his side and a precocious 12-year-old daughter to save. There’s a demented Russian scientist guiding the progress of spider development, driven mad by his desire to possess their bounty of super-silk. And there’s an army standing in the way, with Col. Jenkins (William Hope) as the architect of faux hysteria, attempting to clear out NYC so the titular creatures can continue their development and make way for the rise of a potential queen. Everyone is a cliche (with banal dialogue to chew), inhabited by mediocre, over-botoxed actors who can’t sell the chaos of the moment with their limited gifts, contributing to an oddly unenthusiastic atmosphere for a picture about an outbreak of king-sized spiders. The formulaic approach is unnecessary, but it’s all Takacs can dream up, sucking excitement out of the endeavor.

Granted, the director doesn’t have much to work with here. “Spiders” tends to reuse the same NYC backlot set repeatedly, not to mention numerous visits to familiar subway stations and offices. It looks as though the production had to make due with a single location, but even basic efforts of set redressing tend to fall through in the second half of the picture, while weariness of the same view for the citywide epidemic quickly develops. “Spiders” isn’t quite the cheap-o film traditionally found on SyFy, with passable, keep-one-eye-closed-to-accept CGI for the creepy crawlies. Nevertheless, the feature has a limited-coin sag that’s difficult to ignore, extending to the chase sequences, which tend to bleed into a singular design of spider pursuit, with the encounters staged in dimly lit warehouses, dimly lit subway tunnels, and a dimly lit toy store. “Spiders” pretty much exhausts its imagination in the first act, which is the exact opposite approach this genre tends to take.

That “Spiders” isn’t a total disaster is shocking. There are a few scenes that work, and an overall introduction of danger that’s faintly promising. However, the predictability of it all grinds the movie to a halt, with Takacs fearful of taking a risk with a film that could use as much surprise as it can carry.

Starring: Patrick Muldoon, Christa Campbell (I), William Hope
Director: Tibor Takács

» See full cast & crew

Spiders, Forum Discussions

Last post
Movies with large spiders! 25 Aug 10, 2010
Spiders 3D (2013) 13 Jan 14, 2013

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