Directed by Frank Marshall, and produced by his long time friend Steven Spielberg, ‘Arachnophobia’ has become a genre classic, but how does it hold up 22 years after its initial release?
When news came out that this movie was to be released on bluray, I had a big smile on my face. Everybody has a few movies that they love, even if they know it’s not exactly an award winner. And Arachnophobia is one of mine.
Having seen it again on bluray, its easy to see where it’s strengths and weaknesses lie, but let’s kick things off with the necessary info you are all dying to forget within minutes after reading this.
Like mentioned earlier, the movie is directed by Frank Marshall and produced by Spielberg. Like many of his movies, either produced or directed, it’s easy to see Spielbergs hand in the cinematography. The movie oozes that old b-style horror movie style and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s cast is made up out of Jeff Daniels (of Dumb and Dumber fame) and Harley Jane Kozak as the couple who have to fight off the spiders (more on that in a bit). And as a supporting actor we get John Goodman in one of his more memorable roles as Delbert McClintock, the extinguisher dude.
The story serves merely as a premise to let the terrors take place. While investigating a new spider species in Venezuela, one of the ultra deadly spiders manages to hitch a ride in a coffin to the states. Simultaneously we meet up with Dr. Jennings (Daniels) and his family, who have just moved to the quiet town of Canaima. Ofcourse, the coffin is brought to Canaima, and when the spider makes it to the Jennings’ barn and starts hitting it off with a house spider (yes, that’s the b-style horror for you), soon the town is flooded with eight legged terror.
As said, the movie comes with it’s share of highs and lows. The spider invasion is cleverly thought out, as we slowly but surely watch the spiders invade peoples homes and attacking them in ways you always thought you’d get a spider bite yourself. While eating, putting on your shoes, turning off the lights etc. It’s here that the movie shows it’s intelligence by switching from humor to horror within seconds. The usage of real Huntsman spiders (375 of them) for the movie, is a wise choice as well. The animatronic leader of the bunch, especially on bluray, is easily spotted and were the movie to use that technology for it’s entire running time it would have severely damaged its inheritance.
The acting is decent in all parts, with the cast clearly having fun with the material. You’ll be hard pressed not to get a smile on your face once Delbert (John Goodman) walks into the movie, and there are plenty of scary moments provided throughout. This is, by all means, a horror comedy, and one that’s aged very well after all these years. Even though the animatronic footage hasn’t stood the test of time, and some of the choices the people make are at the very least questionable, it’s still a fun 90 minutes to spend.
If you loved this movie in 1990, you might love it even more in 2012. It hails from a time where a movie had that bit more magic and originality then it does today. It’s a killer spider movie people, what’s not to love?