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Eight Legged Freaks [DVD] [2002]

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Product details

  • Actors: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson, Doug E. Doug
  • Directors: Ellory Elkayem
  • Writers: Ellory Elkayem, Jesse Alexander, Randy Kornfield
  • Producers: Bruce Berman, Dean Devlin, Kelly Van Horn, Peter Winther
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Feb 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083EGI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,106 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

When Chris McCormick (David Arquette) returns to his Arizona home town after ten years away, the last thing he expects to find is an infestation of giant spiders. Nevertheless, thanks to chemical spillage in the river, that is indeed what he does find. Teaming up with Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), a former girlfriend who is now the town sheriff, and her spider-expert son Mike (Scott Terra), Chris does what he can to fight the eight-legged threat and make sure all the local people are safe. However, when the spiders invade the mall, the townsfolk's only course of retreat is through a tunnel into some nearby mines, the very place where the giant female spider has made her lair.


Not funny enough to be called a spoof, not scary enough to be outright horror, Eight Legged Freaks is a curious effects-filled pastiche of those mutant B-movies of the 1950s and 60s. The plot is of the standard small-town-overrun-by-giant-spiders variety, after the little critters have been exposed to leaking radiation naturally. Local boy made good David Arquette has returned to the town to make amends with the woman he loves (feisty Sheriff Kari Wuhrer) and to stop the dastardly mayor from selling his father's mine. But before he can sort that out, there is a lot of bug squashing to be done as the CGI spiders cause all manner of havoc and mayhem.

Eight Legged Freaks is admittedly a lot of fun, and there are some great set-pieces to enjoy, including a gang of teenage dirt bikers escaping a horde of jumping spiders. It's also quite gory in places, though with only a couple of decent shocks it's hardly likely to induce large-scale arachnophobia. The spiders are impressive but the CGI is painfully obvious and it never feels real. However, if you can suspend your disbelief for an hour and a half you will enjoy this pacey, fun and action-filled popcorn flick. It doesn't ever take itself too seriously and is certainly a lot more fun than producer Dean Devlin's other genre entries, Godzilla and Independence Day.

On the DVD: Eight Legged Freaks offers some nice, B-movie poster-style menu screens but little in the way of extras. There's no making-of, no special effects breakdowns (astonishing given how heavily reliant it is on these to tell the story) and not even any spider-related factoids which seem almost a necessity. What we do get, though, is a fun and sprightly commentary, the theatrical trailer and director's Ellory Elkayem original short film Larger than Life, that formed the basis for its feature-length offspring. Compact, creepy and almost silent, it's a shudder-inducing little movie and far more creepy than the main feature. Technically, the picture is sharp and the bright, comic book colours and cinematography look gorgeous, and the squelching soundtrack is wonderfully crisp. --Jon Weir

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By no1filmaddict on 11 Jun 2004
Format: DVD
I love this type of 'big bugs' movie and now that i have seen this film, i am actually very suprised at why it did so poorly at the box office, and why the critics slated it so much. Ok its not the best movie you will every watch, but its still an entertaining film to watch if you want to pass away a few hours.
The plot is quite simple; a truck driver skids on a road and accidently releases one of his barrels of toxic chemicals into a nearby lake. Unfortunately there happens to be an exotic spider farm very nearby and when they all escape and somehow ingest these chemicals, they turn into huge killer spiders who are extreamly hungry.
As they go on a ramage into the small town killing everyone in sight, the fate of the people rests in the hands of sexy police sherif and Chris Macormic who has returned to stop the nasty mayor from selling his fathers mine. They make a radio broadcast to the town telling everyone to meet at the Prosperity Mall (i don't know how they got the money to build it in a small town in Arizona) which will offer much more protection. Still the spiders manage to penetrate the steel doors and the concrete walls of the mall, and so the people are forced to flee down into the minds, where they stumble accross the spiders nest and the female, which is three times as big as the others.
I'm not really sure what you would call this film; its not scary enough to be a horror, not funny enough to be a spoof or comedy, but theres a really nice mix of all three along with plenty of use of CGI, which although is overall quite good, it is really obvious and the film never feels totally real.
Overall though a good film which although was not received very well by the public or the critics is still very entertaining and is one of those films which doesn't require you to think about the story too much. You just watch the film, enjoy it, and go home more scared of spiders than you went in. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leyander Brenda.c on 17 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
Funniest film I've ever seen!

great effects and acting!

a strong and extremly gory + funny


Fantastic ending!

A start of something cool!

SPiders growing big and

sucking the blood

out of people!!

Who would hate that????

Buy it now for:

for entertainment and to laugh

your butt off!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 July 2013
Format: DVD
This is a fun horror movie for the cliche filled genre. The film opens with a spoof of "AM Coast to Coast." The town of Prosperity is broke. The local mayor and emu entrepreneur (Leon Rippy) has allowed the abandoned mines under his town to be used as a toxic waste dump. When one of the proverbial poorly packaged drums of waste spills, this results in huge spiders who attack the local community in leaps and bounds.

David Arquette and love interest Kari Wuhrer lead the attack against the spiders. This is a young Scarlett Johansson film as she plays the teen daughter. It reminded me of Jennifer Aniston in "Leprechaun" or Sandra Bullock in a Roger Corman film. They all start at the bottom. Scott Terra plays a young Harry Potter looking kid that no one believes.

The spider special effects was fairly decent. My one criticism is that spiders of different species do not band together and hunt in packs. They would eat each other. Humor, action, and cartoonish horror. The spider noises and sound track go counter to a true horror film.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Some PG-13 words and minor sex talk/situations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Aug 2011
Format: DVD
Spiders escape from a spider farm in Prosperity, Arizona, and become giant man eating beasts on account of toxic waste carelessly dumped in a near by river. Can the odd ball inhabitants of this Arizona town escape with their lives? Or will spiders rule the earth and lay waste to man kind?

Eight Legged Freaks is unashamedly homaging B movie creature features from the 1950s. The likes of Tarantula and Them! have their Pedipalps well and truly watered, in what is possibly the most undervalued of all the modern day creature feature homages. Having no pretensions what so ever, the only real thing not in "Freaks" favour is the usage of CGI, but even that doesn't hurt the film, if anything it adds to the obvious preposterous nature of the genre. I mean how else are we to get 20 foot jumping spiders chowing down on some annoying teenager?

Perhaps "Freaks" is viewed harsh because it's cast is relatively C list? Aain that is a genre staple, surely? For what it's worth I think they do real fine, David Arquette has oodles of goofy charisma, Kari Wuher makes a fine female ass kicker, and the kids {one a young Scarlett Johansen} are really rather cool. Director Ellory Elkayem, who after doing They Nest in 2000 clearly has bug issues, adheres to genre staples. Kooky western town out in the desert, the inhabitants of which range from near loonies to dopey politician's, and the plot follows the traditional sense of impending doom played for laughs. Listen out for the score from John Ottman, which plays on variants of "Itsy Bitsy Spider", whilst cast a keen eye on John S. Bartley's Arizona camera work.

Whilst not having the savvy scripting of homage daddy, Tremors, or the star appeal of 1990's Arachnophobia, Eight Legged Freaks deserves its place amongst such fun and creepy company. As the tag line says, "Do you hate spiders? Do you really hate spiders? Well they don't like you either". With that, I think it's web well and truly spun, don't you ? 7/10
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