Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Rating: **
Release Date: 7/19/02
Cast: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scarlett Johansson

The funniest movie of the summer, AND it features Kari Wuhrer with a shotgun. Oh yeah, baby, that's what I'm talkin' about... I've been following Ms. Wuhrer's career since her "Remote Control" days, and she is truly awesome in this film. This campy mutant spider film pays homage to the giant critter films of the 1950's, and even uses radioactive toxic waste as a plot device. When a barrel of toxic goo contaminates a pond in a small Arizona town, a bunch of spiders grow to gigantic proportions and attack the townfolk. Sheriff Sam Parker (delicious Kari Wuhrer) and David Arquette manage to fight back and try to save the town from being completely run over.

The entire tone is over-the-top, campy, and tongue in cheek, and the Danny Elfman inspired soundtrack is both comically playful and absurdly heroic. But the most ridiculous aspect of the film is in the sound effects department. The spiders are very noisy critters and sound just like Jawas. I was expecting any one of them to say "oo-teenee!" at any moment. They grunted, growled, gurgled, shrieked, coughed, laughed, and would even say "ow, ow, ow!" when they were getting hurt. This is so incredibly comical and so outrageously unbelievable that you can't help laughing. The whole time you're thinking "what in the world is this all about?!?" The spider effects are effective, but ultimately cheezy and uninteresting. Or maybe I've just become really jaded about what computer animation can do these days. Regardless, the spiders didn't seem to have any sense of mass and didn't react to their environment in a convincing manner. Much like those old horror movies, it looked like real spiders were just superimposed on live action footage, and to hell with integration and realism. Still, the film is utterly hilarious (and occasionally visually terrifying), and many of the characters are just a hoot. Kari Wuhrer is stunning, handles herself with confidence (despite the material), and is awesome with a gun. I hope to see her tough chick action persona developed more in the years to come. Her police buddy, Pete, is great and nearly steals the show with his antics.