When you walk into a film titled Big Ass Spider, you should simultaneously know what to expect – yet have no idea what kind of insanity awaits. B-Movies are often hit and miss because replicating unintentional comedy proves to be a frequently underestimated task, and we’ve already seen channels like SyFy over-bloat and genetically alter every animal in the book to create killer Saturday night features. There’s been Ice Spiders, Camel Spiders, Spiders 3D, Jungle Spiders – but has there ever been a BIG ASS SPIDER?! I mean, yeah, we’ve seen “big ass” spiders, but have you seen THE BIG ASS SPIDER?! To say you get what you pay for is an understatement with Mike Mendez’s Big Ass Spider, but to write it off as yet another low-budget schlock-fest would also be a disservice – unless a gigantic CGI spider skewering park-goers like human shish kabobs doesn’t sound all that appealing to you. Prudes.
Much like any story about a genetically mutated spider, we learn very quickly that the government has accidentally let a test subject spider escape their careful watch, and unless it’s contained, the spider will keep growing in size and become a larger and larger threat to humanity. Of course, in proper ridiculousness, it’s up to one bumbling yet lovable exterminator named Alex (Greg Grunberg) and his newly appointed stereotypical sidekick Jose (Lombardo Boyar) to somehow put an end to the destructive arachnid. Expect plenty of death, destruction, explosions, and one-liners as Alex fights a spider growing closer and closer to King Kong size by the minute, leveling skyscrapers with the swing of its abdomen. Surely no task is too great for Alex, though – wonder exterminator extraordinaire!
So what kind of movie is Big Ass Spider? The kind of movie that credits a female cast member as “Girl with the rack” on IMDB. The kind of movie that throws Lloyd Kaufman into a speechless cameo, because it knows damn well the audience it’s attracting (shame on you B-Movie fans who missed this). The kind of movie that just uses straight CGI to create the centerpiece of its film, never trying to compete with bigger budget productions benefiting from practical effects. The kind of movie that lets an average, run-of-the-mill exterminator blow shit up with a rocket launcher because hey, fuck you, there’s a rocket launcher in our movie! Let’s be honest though – the best and most telling of all descriptive phrases remains short, sweet, and to the point: This is the kind of movie that names itself Big Ass Spider.
The brilliance of Big Ass Spider is that it starts off on an incredibly high note – or notes I should say. Launching right into the destructive action, we see Alex wake up dirty and beaten, with people fleeing all around him. Alex gets up, starts walking in slow motion, and is moving towards whatever everyone is running away from. Debris is falling, flames engulf vehicles, and slowly the camera focuses on that big ass spider, perched high atop a large skyscraper, flailing its legs at helicopters as they circle. Why is that so awesome? Because Storm Large’s piano version of “Where Is My Mind” plays softly in the background, setting an eerily hypnotic mood to the whole scene. We’re expecting all-out absurdity, yet we’re first greeted with grace and beauty – one hell of an enjoyable curveball!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to cringe at if you’re not a B-Movie fan. While Grunberg and Boyar share a hokey, silly relationship, more narrow minded film lovers will find their antics juvenile and wasteful. Likewise, watching Lloyd Kaufman get scooped up by a giant spider won’t have the same impact on viewers who don’t even enjoy the cameo, so to say Big Ass Spider is a niche title would be a vast understatement. There’s undeniably cheesy and almost sometimes outdated CGI work, characters who are flat and wooden, and story work that will leave you scratching your head – but again, what’s the title? Be smart. If B-Movies aren’t your thing, stay FAR, FAR away from this goofy arachnid.
Should you see Big Ass Spider? Well, do you have numerous alcoholic beverages to aid in the acceptance of a gargantuan spider causing mass chaos and killing anyone in its path? Do you have a few friends present who enjoy movies that are borderline “so bad they’re good?” Are you OK with a lack of practical effects in place of cheaper CGI? If those questions can all be answered with a resounding “Hells yes,” then you’re ready for Big Ass Spider. Honestly, for those of you wondering why they’d even bother making a movie like Big Ass Spider, the movie pretty much answers for itself.