Tibor Takács is no stranger to horror movies. In fact, he's got some pretty fun credits in his filmography - Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Child, I, Madman and of course The Gate to name just a few. Unfortunately these days he's being doing a lot of TV movie and straight to video work, and the latest of these projects is Spiders 3D, a movie so astonishingly unoriginal that the title pretty much tells you what to expect. And while truth in advertising is generally a good thing, so too is creativity and originality, two traits in which this feature is severely lacking.
When the movie begins, we're in outer space - the starting point of many a creature feature over the years. Here we see a space station once full of space guys now littered with corpses and... spiders. Big ones. Soon enough, some meteors lay waste to what's left of the space station and it basically blows up, but unluckily for those of us in New York City, one piece hurtles towards the big apple complete with some eight legged passengers onboard. This piece of space debris somehow manages to land in the subway where the spiders start wandering around and eating things, and as there are lots of things for spiders to eat in the subways under America's biggest city, they start to grow... and grow... and grow.
Thankfully there's a hot female scientist around named Rachel (Christa Campbell) who quickly realizes that this ties in to some sort of Russian military experiment and notes that the subway tunnels are now littered with spider eggs. That's not good. As if all the rats and urine aren't bad enough. Meanwhile a cop named Jason (Patrick Muldoon) and his daughter Emily (Sydney Sweeny), who just so happen to have family ties to Rachel, gets mixed up in all of this. As the spiders eat more and more people and appear to be on the verge of destroying New York and soon the world, it's up to our heroes to try and figure out how to get rid of them once and for all - meanwhile, military guys are not to be trusted and definitely up to no good.
Does any of this sound like a familiar premise? It should, because it's all been done to death and usually it's handled with a lot more spirit than it is here. That's not to say that the movie doesn't provide a few cheap thrills here and there, because there is some fun to be had watching giant spiders terrorize people and cruise around the subway tunnels causing mayhem, but those moments don't really amount to much. The biggest part of the problem with the movie stems from the fact that you just don't give a rat's ass about anyone in it. Outside of the three characters mentioned everyone is spider fodder, which would be all well and good if the spiders were at least scary or even slightly lifelike - they're not. They're pretty much all done through CGI and they don't move like real spiders nor do they carry any sort of weight once they're integrated into the real world. Nothing in their environment outside of the human actors seems to react to them and it all comes off like a cheap video game.
There have been some pretty awesome killer spider movies made before - Arachnophobia and Eight Legged Freaks were both a lot of fun and proved that you don't need massive Avatar sized budgets and huge dollops of gore to make a fun creature feature. Spiders 3D isn't it though. It's passable entertaining when there's nothing else to do but the whole thing is so unimaginative and uninspired that, outside of the fact that Christa Campbell is really hot, nothing stands out here. Go into this with really low expectations and you could probably wind up doing a lot worse but they really could and should have at least tried to do something interesting here - and it's obvious that the filmmakers didn't even try. The movie is completely devoid of scares or suspense, the tiny bit of character development that does occur doesn't matter or affect anything and most disappointingly, the spiders themselves are bland and dopey.
Spiders 3D arrives in 3D and 2D versions on the same disc. Without a fancy schmancy 3D TV, on hand, this review can't go into detail on that transfer so you'll just have to use your imagination. As far as the 2D version goes, it's in full AVC encoded 1.78.1 widescreen 1080p high definition and, aside from the CGI which, as mentioned, is pretty lacking the transfer looks good. This was shot on digital video and so there are no problems with any debris or damage to note. Color reproduction looks nice and black levels are strong. Detail is good in some scenes, not exactly mind blowing in others and a lot of that seems to have to do the amount of goofy looking CGI spiders taking up space on the screen. Overall though the image is pretty good.
The only audio lossless option on the disc is an English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix though optional subtitles are provided in both English and Spanish and an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is also included. The 5.1 track is pretty active, with good use made of the rear channels during the attack scenes and properly balanced levels. The generic sounding instrumental score compliments the equally generic storyline appropriately enough and is spread throughout the mix rather well while bass response reminds tight and strong, especially when the military characters open fire on the spiders.
There aren't loads of extras here but we do get a six minute featurette entitled Web Of Terror: The Making of Spiders 3D which includes some fairly bland interviews with the principal cast and crew members, all of whom seem to think they made a far more impressive picture than they actually did. Additionally we get twelve minutes of additional thirteen minutes of Cast And Crew Interviews and a nine minute collection of fly on the wall style behind the scenes footage presented without narration or context. Previews for six other Nu Image titles are included here as are animated menus and chapter selection.
Spiders 3D should have been a whole lot of fun, instead it was ridiculously predictable and fairly uninspired with fleeting moments of moderate amusement peppered throughout. The Blu-ray from Millennium and Nu Image looks and sounds quite good but contains only a few superficial extras. Hardcore killer bug movie fans might enjoy this but even then, they've seen it all before. You can probably skip this one without too much worry...
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.