Ice Spiders

Mutant spiders breaking in to eat us? That's freaking me out!
Tibor Takács
Patrick Muldoon, Vanessa Williams, Thomas Calabro, David Millbern, Noah Bastian
The Setup: 
Giant mutated spiders, you know the drill.

This is one of the reviews I lost when my word processor got stolen, and since I’ve already thrown away my notes for it, I’ll just have to reconstruct it from memory. Which is too bad, because I had all sorts of carefully-transcribed dialogue written out, and now that’s all lost to time. And you, the reader, suffer. See? That’s the legacy of crime.

This is one of those movies that was made for the Sci-Fi channel, with all the quality-control that implies. In it’s place, however, is an ethos of “You want giant mutant spider attacks? You’ll GET giant mutant spider attacks!” Which is appreciated, but you know, too much eggs benedict and not enough home fries makes breakfast boring.

We open with these two redneck bow hunters, one of whom is named Rocky. They are spying this prize buck, when they spy an end-table sized green spider creeping along. This sends Rocky, who is not a true friend, fleeing into the wilderness, leaving his friend stuck up a tree. The spider slowly stalks them, and they both die horrible, extended deaths.

We now introduce our numerous characters. There’s a bus full of championship skiers on their way to this lodge for practice, including Chad, this super-cocky asshole who is quite sure that he is pretty much the best thing ever. He is such an obnoxious, over-the-top dickweed that you kind of have to appreciate him. Our scene now shifts to the lodge, where the other Vanessa Williams [the one who made the real Vanessa Williams add an “L.” to the middle of her name] is going to pick up her sensitive private mail. I don’t want to have to make a crack about dildoes. There she endures the hot come-ons of Dash Dashiell, skier dude with sad, unfortunate hair, who works at the lodge. We soon find out that Dash used to be a huge championship skier, but broke his leg and was abruptly dropped by all his sponsorships, which is why he’s slumming it here as a ski instructor. Meanwhile, Vanessa works at the top-secret government lab just down the road.

She returns to the top-secret government lab to find a bunch of half-eaten guys laying around. I liked how Vanessa seems genuinely horrified and scared, and doesn’t just scream at the top of her lungs like most heroines in such movies. I must say, she’s actually quite good. She wends her way over to this big white cocoon in the corner, with a nasty red bloodstain seeping out the bottom. Seepage! Turns out this guy was one of her co-workers, and the spider removed his legs and strung him up as little snak-pak for later. This guy has a quite extensive and dramatic death scene, and the whole idea of his legs being taken and his blood seeping through the nasty cocoon is pretty genuinely horrifying—wait a minute, is this movie actually going to be GOOD?

Fear not, we need have no such worries on that account. So the giant black widow returns, and after a Jurassic Park-style chase in the lab, Vanessa holes up in a room and pulls the fire alarm, drawing people from outside to help her.

So soon the cops or whoever show up, including this one high-powered super asshole who just slings smarm in everyone’s direction. TWO uber-assholes in one movie? What bounty!

So perhaps something more happens next that I’ve completely forgotten, but soon enough we’re on to wholesale spider attack. Oh wait, I remember: Dash is asked to help Ranger Rick [yes, he’s named Ranger Rick] go look for the two hunters. They find one of them, sans legs, but dead. I sort of like this creepy detail that the spiders remove their victim’s legs, but it isn’t developed. But have I mentioned that this movie is GORY? Yeah, super-gory. Anyway, soon enough Ranger Rick gets lassoed by a big neon green spider and reeled in like a big fish until spikes penetrate his skull. Dash high-tails it back to the lodge.

Okay, NOW is the spider-pocalypse. They’re killing everyone at the lodge willy-nilly. Chad and company are in some shack and want to get to the school bus in the distance, but they watch as one spider takes down three people. I did appreciate how these spiders are badass motherFUCKERS. They also make a silly “Guaguagua” noise not unlike the Hamburgler. So the intrepid teens make a run for it and make it to the bus, only to find that they dead guy [legless, again] lying 50 feet outside has the keys. Chad runs out to get them, and when he’s taking too long in the process someone on the bus yells “Come on! This isn’t brain surgery!” He makes it back, and they’re driving off when black spider legs creep down over the windshield. I like how a wave of screaming sounds in the bus—it’s a good moment.

Meanwhile, at the lodge, spiders are also rampaging. Dash has made it back, and everyone is piling furniture in front of the door, despite the fact that the doors open outward. Well, maybe effort counts. This sequence contains my favorite snatches of idiot skier-dude dialogue, the first being the big-haired instructor going “The phones are dead! This is NOT COOL,” and the absolute winner, this pithy exchange: “What do they want?” “They’re trying to get in so they can eat us!” “Yeah, well it’s freaking me out!” Soon enough one gets in and Dash stabs it to death with the antlers of a stuffed moose head.

Now, you’d think a movie with a full-scale giant mutant spider onslaught would be hard to make boring, but sometime in here interest sputters and totally dies out. It’s just attack, attack, attack, and it gets pretty rote. By the end I have written in my notes “God, it’s just awful,” and I did end up fast-forwarding through the final 20 minutes.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if the end weren’t so totally anticlimatic. The Spider-SWAT team or whoever come in and shoot these nets that trap the spiders. The end. Sure, one breaks free and slaughters the military uber-asshole, but that’s pretty much it. BOR-ing! But it’s over now, and we can move on to other things.

I suppose I haven’t mentioned that the cast boasts three people who used to be on Melrose Place. I can’t point them out to you, because I never watched that show. I’m guessing, just by the hair, that Dash is one of them, however.

Regardless, it starts out good and it has several things going for it, it’s just that it gets so boring by the end that you just want it to be over. This was a lesson to me, as I though that giant mutant spider attacks are something that could never get dull. Now I know… giant mutant spider attacks don’t mean a thing… if you ain’t got love.

Should you watch it: 

If it’s on Sci-Fi you could do worse than watch the first hour, but then I’d turn it off and get to those dishes piling up in the sink.