Big Ass Spider!
EAST COAST PREMIERE
2013, USA, 85 min.
Director Mike Mendez
Screenwriter Gregory Gieras
Cast Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyer, Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye
When a military experiment goes horribly awry, as they always seem to do, a rampaging spider embiggens its way across Los Angeles, running amok and terrorizing denizens while racking up enough murder-death-kill noms to put Audrey II to shame.
In the midst of the mounting chaos, the apparent spider-whisperer of exterminators, Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg), finds himself embroiled in the the pest hunt of his life as he, in tandem with culpable military stooges under the tutelage of Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise), pursues the goliath arachnid while it tears shit up on both sides of the I-5.
Like some kind of Spengler/Venkman/Zeddemore/Stantz amalgam, Mathis strikes the perfect balance of nerd/geek/dude/dork while in hot pursuit of both the eponymous spindly beast and the prickly babe that is Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer). The hilarious, scene-stealing Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) is along for the ride as the Luigi to Mathis’s Mario in a riff on the buddy cop formula, just two unlikely dudes trying to save the world. Each gag is met with a fair measure of creepy-crawly tension, particularly if the concept of a tenton spider makes you inclined to shit an involuntary brick, but the tone is definitely on the lighter side of dark.
For the geeks in the house, note that both Greg Grunberg of Heroes fame and the glorious Clare Kramer from Buffy come together in this wicked smart romp that’s way more clever than its cheeky title belies. Evoking the unbridled, unhinged joy of yesteryear creature features, Big Ass Spider! is the blessed antithesis of small-screen SyFy schlock. Sure, there’s a (drunk) time and a (high) place for Sharktopusses and Dinocrocs, but if what you’re actually looking for is something more akin to the suspenseful fun of Tremors with the wit and charm of Ghostbusters, you best get your big (or little) ass into this theater.
— Nicole McControversy