Big Ass Spider!
|Big Ass Spider!|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Mendez|
|Produced by||Shaked Berenson
Klaus von Sayn-Wittgenstein
|Written by||Gregory Gieras|
|Music by||Ceiri Torjussen|
|Edited by||Mike Mendez|
|Epic Pictures Group|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||80 minutes|
Big Ass Spider! is a 2013 horror comedy film directed by Mike Mendez. It has received positive reviews from critics.
Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg), a cash strapped but good natured exterminator, wakes up on the ground in the middle of a city being destroyed by a giant spider, which has climbed to the top of a giant skyscraper a la King Kong. The spider swats a helicopter which comes crashing down towards Alex as he looks up and the show blacks out. Cut to earlier that day, where we meet Alex proper, as helps a crazy old lady with a rodent problem. She thanks him and wonders why such a great guy is still single. Alex notes he just hasn’t met the right women yet. Before he leaves she spots a poisonous spider on his arm and swats at it in spite of his warnings not to provoke it. Alex wakes in a hospital and is treated for the bite by a hot nurse who promptly rejects his flirtations. Meanwhile, a mortician is bitten by a rodent sized spider that crawls out of a dead body which just arrived at the hospital. Learning of this, Alex offer to take care of the hospital’s spider problem in exchange for clearing his hospital bill. Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar), a hospital security guard, offers to help Alex and the two enjoy a breezy friendship and hilarious dialogue throughout the movie as they pursue the spider.
Their first stop is the morgue, where Alex quickly deduces the now cat sized spider has escaped into a vent. Alex enters the vent and communicates with Jose via walkie talkie. Meanwhile, a military task force led by Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise) and lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer) show up at the hospital to examine the dead body the spider burst out of. They note that spider’s rate of growth is exponential and will soon be too big to stop. Meanwhile, the spider kills a paralyzed hospital patient who is unable to move or call for help. Back inside the air vent, Alex stumbles upon a section covered in spider webs and inadvertently gets stuck. He uses his lighter to burn the web and is surprised when it ignites as if it were soaked in gasoline. Alex exits the vent into a room in the hospital basement covered in webs. The spider appears behind him, readying to strike, but Karly shows up just in time to shoot it. The spider escapes into a grate down into the sewer where it promptly kills a homeless person. Alex is immediately enamored with Karly who tolerates his advances and offers to help but Major Braxton declines, especially when Alex presses him for answers on where the spider came from. Braxton warns Alex to stay out of his way, and he initially agrees, but Jose convinces him to continue their pursuit as it could be the most important thing either of them do with their lives and it might help with his lady problems.
The duo tracks the now elephant sized spider to a public park. Everyone at the park screams and runs for their lives as the spider snags victims with its web and stomps on / impales others with its giant legs. Alex and Joser get the spider to chase their car, luring it away from the park. Major Braxton sees aerial footage of the chase and Karly is impressed noting it’s Alex (who calls her during the chase). Eventually the duo lead the spider to the spot where the military are set up and a huge firefight ensues. It looks like they are going to kill it but the spider surprises them by making a giant leap over everything and escapes into some nearby woods. Again, Alex offers his assistance and again Major Braxton declines. Karly leads a group of soldiers armed to the teeth into the woods in spite of Alex’s warnings and they promptly get their asses kicked by the giant spider. Karly gets stuck in a web, but Alex shows up in time to free her using his lighter trick. The spider corners them but Jose shoots the spider with a machine gun he grabbed from a dead soldier. The trio almost all get away but the spider catches and cocoons Karly using its web. Alex is horrified as it escapes with her after more military show up and fire their guns at it. Alex and Jose demand to know more about the spider. Braxton reveals that they discovered some alien DNA and hoped to use it as a growth hormone (to perhaps solve the food crisis) but a spider’s nest was hidden in some test fruit exposing the spider to the alien DNA. It is also revealed that the spider will soon start reproducing based on its size and their studies of the alien DNA.
Alex and Jose head for the city, where the now enormous spider is rampaging through as seen in the opening scene. A piece of falling building causes their vehicle to crash the show blacks out. Alex wakes up as seen in the opening scene and finds Jose. The duo enters the giant skyscraper which the spider has climbed on top of. Major Braxton tells them Karly is located on one of the floors with the soon to be hatching spider eggs, and warns them of an impending airstrike (as the military can’t risk the eggs hatching). They get to Karly and free her just before the hatching baby spiders can get her, and make it out of the building seconds before the air strike hits. The giant spider roars and plummets to the streets below. Major Braxton congratulates Alex, noting he was wrong about him, but the feel good moment is short lived as the giant spider rises behind them, still alive. Alex theorizes if the spider’s webs are so flammable that maybe they can blow it up by shooting the part of the spider where the webs come out. Jose is amused by this plan as it basically boils down to “we have to shoot the spider in its ass” (as this is where the webs shoot out of). Alex distracts the spider and is almost stomped on / impaled several times while Jose grabs a bazooka from a fallen soldier. Jose tosses the bazooka to Alex who shoots the spider in its ass. The spider explodes, finally killing it. Alex embraces a more than willing Karly, and the two enjoy a passionate kiss. In a humorous scene after the end credits start rolling, Major Braxton calls Alex to tell him they have another problem and we see a giant cockroach climbing the Statue of Liberty in a video monitor in the background behind him.
Big Ass Spider! was directed by Mike Mendez. It stars Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, Patrick Bauchau and Clare Kramer. To cast the film, Mendez used people from his Facebook friends list, as he did not have enough money to hire a casting director. The film's screenplay was originally called Dino Spider. Distributors pushed for the film to be retitled Mega Spider, as they felt that Big Ass Spider! would not be marketable. However, Mendez convinced the distributors to keep the title, feeling that Big Ass Spider! "is the right title for the movie. I felt it in my heart and soul."
The film has received positive reviews, holding a 78% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott Foundas of Variety gave a positive review, calling the film "an exceedingly good-natured Z-grade creature feature." He went on to write that "Many worse ways to spend 80 minutes can easily be imagined." Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic opined that the film was "gleefully schlocky" but criticized the film for being predictable. John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote positively of the film, saying "Mike Mendez's shamelessly Corman-esque Big Ass Spider! does almost everything just a tiny bit better than it needs to."
Adversely, Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times gave a negative review of the film, branding it as a "humorless horror comedy." He concluded by saying that "the director, Mike Mendez, shows no signs of knowing how to make campy horror work the way that the creators of similar movies on Syfy do. It has to be either subtle or over the top. This is neither." Rex Reed rated the film a 1 out of 4, saying that it was "lazily directed" and "aims for satire and settles for stale shtick."
On October 18, 2013 the film was released on demand and into a limited number of theaters by Epic Pictures Releasing. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 7, 2014. Its home media release earned it a Saturn Award for Best DVD or Blu-ray.
- Doupe, Tyler. "Mike Mendez on Wrangling 'Big Ass Spider'". Fearnet. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Big Ass Spider". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- Foundas, Scott. "'Big Ass Spider!' Review: Mike Mendez's Fun Creature Feature". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Goodykoontz, Bill (October 24, 2013). "Big Ass Spider!". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- DeFore, John. "Big Ass Spider! SXSW Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Genzlinger, Neil (October 18, 2013). "Big Ass Spider!, a Horror-Comedy by Mike Mendez". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Big Ass Disappointments: Fresh Crop of Horror Films Fail to Horrify". The New York Observer. October 22, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Palmieri, Lea. "Move Over Sharknado, Greg Grunberg Explains Why Big Ass Spider Is The Next Hit Movie". OK Magazine. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
- The 40th Saturn Awards Winners