Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

eight legged freaks poster 2002 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun, goofy romp

Too predictable at points

Movie Info

Movie Name: Eight Legged Freaks

Studio: Centropolis Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s): July 17, 2002

MPAA Rating: PG-13

eight legged freaks spiders mouth

Urban myth says you swallow 8 spiders a year…here’s what happens when they come back

Chris McCormick (David Arquette) has returned to his dying home town of Prosperity, Arizona after the death of his father. Unfortunately, a barrel of toxic waste has just created a big problem for Prosperity. Joshua Taft (Tom Noonan) raises spiders and discovers that a new bug in the local lake has caused his spiders to grow in massive size. When the spiders escape, the town of Prosperity finds itself overrun. Chris, his former girlfriend Sheriff Samantha Parker (Kari Wuhrer) and her children Mike (Scott Terra) and Ashley (Scarlett Johansson) team with a conspiracy theory radio host named Harlan (Doug E. Doug) and Deputy Willis (Rick Overton) to battle the attacking arachnids.

Directed Ellory Elkayem (who helped write the screenplay with Jesse Alexander), Eight Legged Freaks is a horror comedy. The film was released to mixed reviews and was a modest success.

I like monster-movies and actually wanted to see Eight Legged Freaks when it came out. I missed it in the theaters and always intended to see it. When I finally did see the film (years later), it was as I expected, not great but also not bad.

eight legged freaks david arquette scarlett johansson

Black Widow getting webbed up…

What works with Eight Legged Freaks is the B-Movie aspect of the story. Resembling other big monster movies like Tarantula and Them! (which is seen on TV in the movie), Eight Legged Freaks captures a lot of the dusty, desert invasions of the past. The comedy added into the film gives it a resemblance to Tremors or Arachnophobia which are better films, but the movie seems to have a great starting concept with little plans for a conclusion. The movie fizzles and ends.

The cast is strong, but the success of Scarlett Johansson has raised the movie’s level of attention. David Arquette plays the normal David Arquette-type performance. Kari Wuhrer suffers from playing the “straight man” in the movie while Rick Overton is the goofy, bumbling detective (generally played by Arquette in Scream). Leon Rippy is a good slimy mayor who actually doesn’t get much of his comeuppances at the end (considering how many people are killed the mutant spiders he essentially created). Doug E. Doug is fun as the conspiracy obsessed Harlan Griffith while horror vet Tom Noonan plays the spider-man in an uncredited role.

eight legged freaks spider kill

I think he wants to kiss you

For what it is and when it was made, Eight Legged Freaks doesn’t look that bad. The computer-generated spiders are obviously special effects made, but they aren’t as bad as earlier CGI creations…but they are also no Gollum. They are mixed with some very generic looking mine sets and a rather dull town since most of the action happens in the night.

Eight Legged Freaks is not a masterpiece but it is a quick, fun romp. The movie is essentially what it advertises: giant spiders attacking. If that is what you want from a movie, that is what you get. A sequel film was originally scheduled to be released, but plans for the sequel have since been scrapped.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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