From director Mike Medez comes this unique character drama exploring the relationship between two star-crossed lovers and set against a backdrop of political intrigue, unbridled passion and sombre violin music. In case you hadn’t guessed it, that’s not this movie. Instead, Mendez offers us Ronseal in film form; Big Ass Spider does exactly what it says on the tin.
Starring Greg Grunberg, Lin Shaye, Ray Wise and a few other familiar faces B.A.S. tells the tale of a Alex Mathis, a pest remover who takes his job a little too seriously. When a man eating spider gets lose in a hospital, short-on-cash, Alex decides to pay his bill the only way he knows how, by catching the offending arachnid. What Alex doesn’t realise at this point is that the football sized spider is only in phase one of three of its growth cycle. Phase two sees the spider moving from stalking to openly hunting its prey, even as they drive straight at it in cars! By stage three, the spider is really living up to the film’s title and Alex has his work seriously cut out for him.
The movie’s budget restraints are apparent from the outset and if it weren’t for the occasional famous face, this could easily be mistaken for a low budget Asylum/Sci Fi Channel production. In as much as B.A.S. is a level above such drek, it must be noted that the budget isn’t the production’s only problem. Whilst there are plenty of funny, cheesy one-liners and a willingness to poke fun at itself, the scripting is far too poor to allow Mendez’s movie to become the instant cult classic it so obviously wants to be.
It’s not without its charms but too often this feels like a made-for-tv production from the 1990’s. The effects are as poor, the characterisation is somehow less than one dimensional and the gore is tame at best. This was clearly an attempt to reboot the 1950’s style low budget creature feature whilst maintaining a sense of humour. Judged on this basis, B.A.S. is not a complete failure. Grunberg makes for a fairly likable lead and any film with Ray Wise gets some instant bonus points in my book. There are even a few decent one liners and visual gags to go with the seemingly endless in-jokes.
Whilst it comes across as a labour of love and whilst it provides a few laughs, this falls well short of being the movie it could have been. Far from horrible and fairly entertaining, all things considered, Big Ass Spider still falls well short of other similarly budgeted entries in this genre.
In short, it’s harmless and may kill an hour or two but there are far better creature features out there.
Review by Dave Coughlan