What’s It About? There has been an uptrend in the strange and bizarre subgenre of disaster monster movies on SyFy in recent times, with arguably their biggest to date being Sharknado this year. It’s hard to believe that so many of these movies get attention, but when things like X Factor and American Idol are the most popular shows on TV, perhaps it’s not surprising we’re into schlocky modern B-movies involving sharks flying in a tornado or hybrid piranha/octopus monsters. Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off and go along for the ride.
Big Ass Spider aims to capitalise on the popularity of creature features by taking it one step further. This is more of a Z-movie than anything, and it’s all the better for it. There’s nothing complicated about the storyline – a large alien spider breaks free from a lab and chaos ensues. That’s all you need to know, other than it stars Alias and Heroes alumnus Greg Grunberg, Clare Kramer aka Glory from Buffy, and recognisable face Ray Wise from such shows as Twin Peaks and 24. You should really know by now whether this sounds like your kind of movie or not.
Verdict: The biggest praise you can give to Big Ass Spider is that it’s better than you expect it to be. This is not only because of the talent involved, but thanks to the clever script that makes it far more enjoyable than it has any right to be. As with the best of its kind, Big Ass Spider knows what it is and doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet manages to at least try and be a good movie along the way. It’s a fun and fast ride that never feels like it drags, and remains a genuine concept without ending up a pastiche or spoof like many these days. Grunberg is one of those guys who you will always root for as he has such a likeable nature, and he certainly carries his weight here in a role that makes you wonder why he’s not around more on our screens.
Final Words: You know what you’re getting from Big Ass Spider as soon as you hear the title or see the front cover of the DVD. It’s a movie that director Mike Mendez has made proudly and unashamedly, playing to the strengths of the genre.
There’s a real charm that will leave you with a smile on your face. It’s a pleasure to see Grunberg again, and this works as a perfect relaxant post-Christmas and New Year. So go out and rent or buy the movie, stick it on, and de-stress yourself with a giant spider and some popcorn. You won’t regret it, unless you’re arachnophobic in which case maybe don’t..
Extras: Sadly no interview with the spider or anything to be seen here. Missed opportunity.
Big Ass Spider is on Blu-ray and DVD on 23 December 2013.