Spiders 3D

Some insects, such as spiders
★★
☆☆☆☆☆
Released: 
2013
Director: 
Tibor Takacs
Starring: 
Patrick Muldoon, Christa Campbell, William Hope, Sydney Sweeney
The Setup: 
Giant spiders maraud "Manhattan"
Discussion: 

What are the elements of a good movie? Good writing, smart direction, good performances, things like that. But what are the surefire elements of a bad movie? Total ineptitude is one, as is a low budget, bad actors, horrible special effects, as well as no real reason for existing... all of which Spiders 3D has in spades. This is directed by Tibor Takacs, who delivered a real movie with The Gate back in the day, but recently has been pumping out low-budget SyFy Channel-style trash, such as Ice Spiders. I can't help but think that his experience dealing with giant CGI arachnids on that one must have been the cincher for him to get this job.

We open with a space station floating above Earth, meant to show off the 3D [which is obviously nonexistent on Netflix or any other televised medium, although they didn't bother to amend the title]. We pull back inside to see that the place is overrun by spiders and filled with floating corpses. Then some flying space debris comes by [I can't help but think that this was one of the key inspirations for Gravity] and blows the place to shit, sending debris down into Manhattan. It lands in the street and goes right into the subway, causing panic on Noble street. You know, Noble street, in Manhattan. We now join Patrick Muldoon as Jason, sporting a horror haircut and goatee, as a bigwig at the NYT, which in this movie, is the company in charge of the subway. They even have a logo that looks exactly like the one for the MTA [the real New York Transit company]. He works in some giant office such as we saw in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, where Denzel Washington had a job akin to his. The office has a wall-sized diagram of the entire subway system, which bears no relation to the real one, with lights representing the movement of each train in the system. Behind him are a bunch of other diagrams, all of which are the same, and none of which show any movement. Jason hears that there's some touble down in the train, and decides that he needs to "get down there."

He does, where he meets Christa Campbell as Rachel. She is a sort of brunette Tara Reid, but with half the acting ability. Her face has been botoxed into an eerie smooth doll-like plasticine appearance, rendering her capable of creating two facial expressions: a blank-eyed stare, and the same, but with a tinge of concern. As such she is by far the BEST thing in the movie, and I got a bit of a chuckle every time she appeared on screen. She's most delightful in her first few scenes, before you are used to her, as Jason talks to her and they have a fight, and she simply stares at him, absolutely no expression on her face. It takes quite a while to discern that they used to be married, and they have a young daughter. Rachel is a doctor [WHY are the Tara Reid characters always doctors?] and she walks through hospital corridors that look more like a law office or something. One of the key lines of the film is when a fellow medical professional explains to her that "Some insects, such as spiders, lay eggs in their hosts..."

Okay, now it can be told that one of the key pleasures of this movie is how desperately they try to pretend that even one second of it was shot in New York. They have a set that depicts ONE street that is supposedly New York, and that is, you guessed it: Noble Street. Which, by the way, does not exist. A full third of the film takes place on this one block. And guess where Rachel lives? Why, right there on Noble street. We also see subway stations and subway trains, none of which, again, look anything close to the real deal. The subway trains have upholstered seats and woodgrain paneling. You don't even have to have lived in New York to notice--if you've been there once, or seen a movie filmed on location, you'll know it. The whole thing was actually shot in Sofia, Bulgaria, and if you look during some of the street shots not on Noble street, you can see numerous signs in Bulgarian. Another highlight is a newswoman reporting that "Areas shut down include Broadway...." Well, Broadway runs the entire length of Manhattan. There is no Broadway "area." Oh dear, great fun.

Anyway, in the minds of the creators of this movie, all things with more than four legs are "insects," and all have essentially the same life cycle. Therefore, we learn that there is a "queen" spider and the rest are "worker" spiders. Soon, guys are collecting the spiders, which have four-inch long razor-sharp fangs, by hand, while only wearing thin rubber suits. It would seem that the military--ain't it always the military--was doing what the military incessantly does, which is try to create a super-weapon. It would hap that they found an alien spaceship back in the day--rather big news to just drop in there, methinks--and spliced the alien DNA with every other kind of DNA under the sun, which is how we arrived at these space spiders. I was so glad for that explanation, which renders it all CRYSTAL CLEAR. Anyway, the point of all this is to glean this super-strong webbing, stronger than steel, we are told, which will [somehow?] make their forces invincible.

Anyway, what of the spiders, you ask? They started hand-size, but are now the size of pigs, and have toothy mouths and long bayonet-esque front stabber-things. I was going to complain that they have features normal spiders just don't have, but then I forgot that they are cross-bred with numerous DNAs! Which really just explains everything. Anyway, they are rendered in the CGI of 2002, giving them the approximate quality of watching a video game. Of 2007. They attack periodically, but mostly chase our heroes, roaring like lions, and without doing any real damage. In one notable [and notably long] sequence, our heroes climb up to the fourth floor of a warehouse [you know, all those warehouses in Lower Manhattan, where space is so cheap you can afford to use it for storage], and mysteriously drive a forklift out the ground floor a few minutes later. Maybe there's some sort of interdimensional portal in there, too? Could be. You never know.

Anyway, soon the queen emerges, and she is about three stories high, and comes right up onto the street, where she crawls about, rather aimlessly. What does she WANT? I thought queen insects wanted to stay snug underground and just pump out eggs? Oh that's right: multiple DNA! Forgot that. Anyway. her appearance is cause to contemplate that, after a certain point, movie creatures become so large that they really just aren't that threatening to humans anymore. And why would she pursue a little girl--as she shortly does--which would be akin to a kernel of popcorn for her? The appearance of a rocket-launcher also only serves to underscore the fact that the military, in this movie, is not bringing out anything more effective. But clearly, logic and sense are two things that have nothing to do with this film.

As noted, Jason and Rachel's young teen daughter is soon the target of the queen's wrath, and it appears that she shares her mother's complete inability to register emotion as she watches her best friend be squished to death in front of her, with the merest tightening of eyebrows showing on her face. The concerned parents get to the apartment where they left her only to find it a flaming cinder, which causes Rachel to shout "No! No! No! No! No!" They soon find the girl downstairs, encased in webbing that they easily rip through, causing you to ask "But wasn't that supposed to be stronger than steel?" And again we must recall that logic and this movie occupy two divergent poles of a long spectrum. Dad stays in the subway and faces off with the queen, and rams a subway train into her and then some gas pipes, which then explode in a wave of flame that also burns up all of the hundreds of other spiders. Yep, every single one [except the tiny one meant to ominously hint at a sequel in the final shot]. Then Dad is reunited with the two completely affectless women in his life, and Noble street, not to mention the whole Broadway area, is safe once again.

Obviously I needn't tell you that it sucks [although one can gain amusement by reading some of the reviews on IMDb expressing SHOCK and OUTRAGE that a movie such as Spiders 3D is NOT good]. Still it is fun. Meager fun, but one takes what one can get. Curiously, the fun does not come from seeing the spiders rampage--there are a few, but they're strangely dull and excitement-free--but from the pure silliness of it all, the entirety of Christa Campbell as Rachel, and the amusement of them trying to pretend with a straight face that any setting in this film even remotely resembles Manhattan. In fact, it made me want to meet the person who could watch this and believe that it was actually filmed in Manhattan.

Now, as surely you know, I would NEVER encourage drug use in ANY FORM, but still, if you want to wring the most out of this, you'll have to be wasted out of your fucking mind. You'll need to be in that Zen-like state where you can embrace utter senselessness. I would say that the film itself could embrace this a bit more, but you know how movies can be ruined by attempting to be self-consciously bad. No, here you are indeed laughing at it, not with it, and if you are ready to enjoy a movie widely deemed "not as good as Eight-Legged Freaks," then you are ready to enjoyably waste a fraction of your life on this.

Should you watch it: 

If you know what you're getting into, I say live the dream.