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After a Soviet space station crashes into a New York City subway tunnel, a species of poisonous spiders is discovered, and soon they mutate to gigantic proportions and wreak havoc on the city.
For more about Spiders 3D and the Spiders 3D Blu-ray release, see Spiders 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 8, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Patrick Muldoon, Christa Campbell (I), William Hope
Director: Tibor Takács
» See full cast & crew
Spiders 3D Blu-ray Review
Eighty-nine minute freak.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 8, 2013
Don't be complaining about the rats anymore.
It seems like New York City always bears the brunt of cinematic disasters. Certainly other cities and locations around the globe have fallen victim to any number disasters be they manmade, extraterrestrial, geological, atmospheric, or whatever the case may be, but New York is certainly a favorite of filmmakers when it comes to finding just the right place to wipe off the map. There are so many recognizable landmarks to destroy, most, if not all, recognizable to the denizens outside of that fair city largely because they've been spotted so often in cinema and because, yes, New York is widely recognized as the unofficial "capital of the world." Indeed, Disaster movies have been wiping out New York landmarks for some time, but when a movie is shot in Sophia, Bulgaria, which is meant to double for New York City, don't bet on seeing the Chrysler Building, Yankee Stadium, Times Square, or Madison Square Garden go bye-bye. Spiders (really, they couldn't come up with a more creative name than Spiders?) is a low-budget, midlevel digital effects-heavy Disaster flick in which a bunch of ugly alien arachnids overtake The Big Apple because, well, that's what ugly alien arachnids do. Some folks fight them, a bunch of the bugs get shot, and, oh, chances are there is a "queen" lurking somewhere far below in the city's famed tunnel system. But NYC landmarks getting destroyed real good? Fugetaboutit.
When a meteor shower strikes a derelict Russian space station, debris crashes down to Earth. It seems like a freak accident and that the debris' landing spot -- New York City -- came away from the incident almost no worse for wear. Unfortunately, the debris crash was just the beginning. When the coroner's office performs an autopsy on the lone individual killed by the meteor shower, a startling discovery is made: eggs growing inside his body. Soon, dead rats appear on the surface, and many are seen scurrying away from New York's underground tunnel system. The military quarantines the area and spreads a false story about the need to contain a dangerous virus. But a few people know the truth -- amongst them Jason (Patrick Muldoon) and his soon-to-be-ex-wife Rachel (Christa Campbell) -- that the city need not fear a virus but rather large, mutant, and rapidly-growing arachnids that are hungry for flesh and bent on destruction. As Jason and Rachel race to save the city, they must also protect their daughter, Emily (Sydney Sweeney), from harm.
No surprise, Spiders offers little beyond very basic "large arachnids run amok"-style entertainment, and it is a rare example of a movie that can largely be judged by its name and cover. It's no diamond in the rough within its genre, but it's a little more capably entertaining and soundly crafted than its similarly styled counterparts from SyFy and Asylum. There's an obvious boost in production values over the lower end flicks that's evident in everything from the acting to the special effects; neither are particularly good but both prove worlds better than the lowest-ranked genre pictures from the cheapest studios. Spiders at least shows a semblance of manufacturing prowess, that some thought did go into ensuring that the film could be taken halfway seriously. Unfortunately, the filmmakers went a little too far in that direction and removed most every trace of humor from the project, which was a key ingredient in making other big Spider movies, like Eight Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia, such great successes. The film sludges through a lot of fairly bland, structurally insignificant, and dramatically meaningless character development and plods through a slow middle stretch, but it does boast some decent special effects. The spiders certainly don't move very realistically or look all that convincing (though who's to say what mutant alien spiders bigger than most earth-native animals would look like or how they would move), but there are a few nifty design cues that should keep audiences interested until the inevitable reveal of the queen spider near the end.
Although Spiders isn't a total disappointment, and even if it boasts some higher end production values, acting, and special effects relative to other "cheap" Disaster movies, it still lacks much of an appeal considering that it really fails to show any major destruction on even a modest scale. And never mind the fact that it borrows quite heavily from other, better films. Viewers will be hard-pressed not to come up with at least a couple of movies that Spiders liberally copies. The film shows influences from the aforementioned Eight Legged Freaks, obviously, as well as Godzilla, Cloverfield, Transformers, and Starship Troopers in its action stylings Aliens and Gremlins in scene-specific copying. It's certainly no bastion of originality, but it takes those pieces and makes a movie that's at least mostly entertaining in the classic "mindless" sense of the term. Spiders doesn't challenge its viewers to ponder the cosmic consequences of spiders fallen from the heavens and mutating in New York's subway systems and subsequently wreaking havoc on the surface, but as a little slice of 3D giant bug escapism, there are certainly worse options out there.
Spiders 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Spiders 3D crawls onto Blu-ray with a fairly good, but not particularly eventful, 3D transfer. This big bug movie never really finds its legs as a major "pop out of the screen" experience, opting instead for depth, subtle 3D trickery, and a handful of "wow" moments but nothing really befitting a "Creature Feature" in 3D, i.e. it never feels like the spiders are moving beyond the screen and in the living room or their legs or fangs or webbing are poking out of the screen to get the audience. However, the image does find some good, positive depth, particularly as it looks down city streets or claustrophobic underground tunnel systems. There's a fair sense of real space between characters and objects, for the most part, and there are a few scattered extra-screen effects in which flying breaking glass or fiery sparks seem to push out beyond the screen. Otherwise, this is mostly a gentle, natural sort of 3D presentation. The opening titles do hover nicely off the screen. The review equipment (Sony playback device, Panasonic Plasma monitor) showed only trace levels of the dreaded crosstalk or "ghosting" effect.
On the other side of the coin, the transfer's other technical merits show little in the way of major flaw. Detailing is sufficient. Humans look a little flat and pasty with no major texture complexities on faces and clothes, but the image does showcase some nice rough, tactile surfaces around the city, both above ground and below. The digital arachnids -- particularly the big kahuna seen at the end -- reveal some nice computer detailing that's translated well onto Blu-ray. Colors can be vibrant and even, particularly in the early going when the action plays out under brighter lighting conditions, but the palette takes a back seat to atmosphere as the action shifts underground and, later, to the nighttime. Black levels never waver too far from normal and flesh tones, a bit pasty as they may be, also stay fairly true to what appears to be the actors' natural shading. There are a few fuzzy shots, a little shimmering on background monitors in the control room seen early in the film, but the transfer is otherwise technically proficient. This isn't a reference 3D transfer, and it's a little disappointing that it doesn't do more in the way of "wow!" with its 3D creature effects, but overall the viewing experience is a positive one.
Spiders 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Spiders 3D spins an effective but not truly reference Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. It produces a heavy low end to start, one that's a little rattly but fairly effective and deep nonetheless. The low end tightens up a tad later in the film as various sounds of man-versus-mutant-arachnid mayhem plays out throughout the city, both below ground and above. Heavy crashes, huge queen spider footsteps, and gunplay all deliver some suitably heavy bass effects. Unfortunately, that gunfire never really stands apart; it's a little bland, not fully aggressive or real-life accurate but at least satisfying in a low budget movie-typical sort of fashion. Some of the shattering glass and sparks sound effects come through clearly enough in support of the more aggressive 3D picture elements, but the track doesn't do a great job of creating the sort of general atmosphere required to fill in the wider spaces created by the 3D visuals. For instance, an office segment near the beginning offers a little bit of a natural din but not enough to immerse the listening audience into the location. Dialogue does come through without hitch as it flows from the center. All in all, this is a good track and one that's a few adjustments away from something special.
Spiders 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Spiders 3D contains a few brief extras.
Spiders 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
For a lower end Disaster movie, Spiders 3D isn't a completely disagreeable experience. It's certainly far from original -- it mimics bits and pieces of a handful of other, better films -- but it offers serviceable Disaster/Mutant Insect carnage with reasonable special effects, decent acting, and a passable script. It's not Oscar-bound, that's for sure, but genre fans will want to check out Spiders 3D anyway for a modest good time at the cheap movies. Millennium Entertainment's Blu-ray release of Spiders 3D features good video and audio. A few extras are included. Definitely worth a rental and maybe a purchase at bargain bin pricing.
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