Arachnophobia [1990]

Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Most horror movies depend on giant monsters; Arachnophobia gets just as many thrills out of creatures only a few inches long. A scientist (Julian Sands, Warlock, A Room with a View) who's hunting a vicious new species of spider in Venezuela unknowingly ships one back to the U.S. It ends up in a small town where a new doctor (Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Something Wild) is trying to establish a practice. When his patients start suddenly dying, Daniels suspects spiders--but no one takes him seriously because he's had a phobia about spiders since childhood. Arachnophobia builds a slow but relentless sense of menace and creepiness, mixed with a sneaky satire of small town life. If you're squeamish about spiders, this will get under your skin. Also featuring the ever-dependable John Goodman (The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink) as a comically zealous exterminator. --Bret Fetzer

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