Thursday, October 1, 2015

Movie Review: "Arachnophobia (1990)

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Director: Frank Marshall
Year: 1990
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

On an expedition to South America, a scientist named Dr. James Atherton (Julian Sands) discovers a new and highly deadly species of spider. When his photographer is unknowingly bitten, he quickly dies, but his death is blamed on a fever he had. This deadly spider catches a ride in the photographer's coffin back to the United States. This spider settles into the barn of a doctor named Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels), who just moved into town with his family. The spider starts to breed and unleashes terror on their new small town. 


This is a fun and frightful PG-13 creature feature, but seriously, beware if you hate spiders. The premise of "Arachnophobia" is amazingly simple, but it has the potential to be so much more, especially if you hate the creepy crawlies. An ancient and isolated species of spider with the ability to kill instantly with one bite is discovered and accidentally introduced into a new environment and starts killing people. Doesn't that description just send shivers down your spine?! How scary you find this movie will probably be directly related to how scary you find spiders themselves, and if you're me, that amount is A LOT. If I see a spider in the house and I am faced with killing it, chances are, I'll just vacate the premises and burn the mothereffing house down instead of being in a room with an arachnid. If you are already scared of the relatively usually harmless to human spiders we have in our everyday lives, it's bad enough, but when you add the 'deadly' part, it really increases the fear factor tenfold. Just imagining reaching under a lamp shade to switch off the lights only to have a crawly arachnid hiding under the shade, or a deadly spider camping out in your hat or shoes before you slide them on. Or, worse yet, the creepy eight legged creatures hiding on top of your shower head or under your toilet seat just waiting to sink their little but not so little fangs into you while you are at your most vulnerable moment. I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS JUST WRITING THIS. Thank god we don't have to watch this movie again, it was a real trial for me! But, I guess that means Frank Marshall and company did their job, huh!?

The thing about spiders is half the time they are right under your nose and you don't see them hiding under the lips of your counters or dressers or in that crumpled towel sitting on a table top. There could be one under your keyboard or hanging out in you laptop case right now as you read this review just waiting for the right time to strike. It's pretty frightening to think about in the grand scheme of not only life, but this movie, which only serves to magnify them and enlarge them to sizes beyond anything a normal human being would ever think to put on screen. That is the major creep factor in "Arachnophobia," seeing that spider there and the anticipating what will happen. In a way, it's about jump scares, and the movie does resort to this from time to time, but really, it's more about our basic human instincts being infringed upon by those little suckers. Overall, though, the film focuses on images of the creepy crawlers and Jeff Daniels has an amazingly (read: HORRIFYING) end scene where he's in "the den" of the spider queen. UGH. We know where the spiders are for the most part, so it's not so much "Oh no, is there are spider in there?" but rather, "OH NO, THERE IS A SPIDER IN THERE!!!" There are some close-up shots of the face of the queen spider that are just menacing as well. This is a true horrifying delight in an unconventional sense. Horrific to some, cheesy to others, deadly when necessary.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
Two years ago, we were watching"The Skin I Live In"

One year ago, we were watching: "The Incredible Melting Man"

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