The tradition of giant mutant spider movies continues with this thriller that recalls such previous entries in the atomic age genre as Tarantula (1955), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), and Arachnophobia (1990). David Arquette stars as Chris… More The tradition of giant mutant spider movies continues with this thriller that recalls such previous entries in the atomic age genre as Tarantula (1955), Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), and Arachnophobia (1990). David Arquette stars as Chris McCormick, an engineer who returns home after ten years to the economically depressed mining town of Prosperity, AZ, a place so poor that the mayor is considering selling it to a company that will use the abandoned mines as a dumping ground for toxic waste. When some of the chemical ends up spilled into a nearby river, Prosperity is soon overrun by enormous arachnids mutated into flesh-devouring beasts the size of sports utility vehicles. With the help of local sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), on whom he has had a long-time crush, Chris assembles a rag-tag team of spider-killers, including Sam's son, Mike (Scott Terra); her daughter, Ashley (Scarlett Johansson); her deputy, Pete Willis (Rick Overton); and UFO conspiracy theorist radio deejay Harlan Griffith (Doug E. Doug), to combat the invasion, leading to a last stand in a shopping mall. Eight-Legged Freaks co-stars Tom Noonan, Eileen Ryan, and Leon Rippy. New Zealand filmmaker Ellory Elkayem hit the jackpot and the chance to direct his debut feature when producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, who had already discussed the possibility of creating a giant mutant-spider flick, saw his black-and-white short Larger Than Life, a film festival award-winner about a woman terrorized by a giant arachnid.
Consensus: This homage to the B-movies of the '50s has a promising first half, but runs out of ideas in the second.