Eight Legged Freaks [2002]

In the grand tradition of atomic-age monster movies, Eight Legged Freaks delivers everything you'd want from a giant-spider thriller. The plot's hardly original, but familiarity is half the fun, beginning when toxic waste results in a stampede of gigantic, ravenous arachnids in the depressed mining town of Liberty, Arizona. David Arquette is Liberty's prodigal son, returning to save the town from greedy developers, and to reunite with the lovely local sheriff (Kari Wuhrer), whom he never stopped loving. Before long they're saving the town from a teeming horde of jumbo-size "jumpers," "orb-weavers," tarantulas, and other eight-legged beasties, brought to life by digital effects that are consistently fantastic. Though not quite as witty as the similarly exciting Tremors, this "arach-attack" offers a deft balance of creepy shocks, sight gags, and tongue-in-cheek satire. Cleverly expanding his New Zealand short "Larger Than Life," first-time director Ellory Elkayem gives genre fans and arachnophobes a giddy nightmare they won't soon forget. --Jeff Shannon

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