Big Ass Spider! is one of the films that as soon as you look at the cover you know exactly what you’re in for. It feels like a call back to the 1950’s giant monster films like King Kong, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and Them!. Them! being the earliest of the giant insect films. Big Ass Spider! is big, bold and apologetically a B-Movie. Not that this film doesn’t have flaws, because it does. But like other B-Films, I have a really hard time hating on it and before it’s thrown out there. I know that this film isn’t technically a horror film, B.A.S. is an Action/Comedy/Sci-Fi. But don’t tell that to Netflix, which claims it as B-Horror.
Alex Mathis (Greg Grumberg) is a down on his luck exterminator and after getting bit by a brown recluse while on the job goes to the hospital. Which is where his day off really starts to go sideways on him. While waiting to pay his bill, the Mortician Carl (Ruben Pla) emerges from the basement sporting a huge spider bite from an equally huge spider. Mathis offers his services to get rid of the spider in exchange for having the hospital flip the bill, which they agree to do. He goes to the basement, accompanied by Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar), the hospital security guard. Mathis and Ramos become fast friends as they hunt down the spider, which has made its way into the hospital’s ventilation. Mathis goes in after it after discovering the body it crawled out of, still on the slab. While Mathis is in the ventilation system, Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise), Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer) and Dr. Lucas (Patrick Bauchau) take command of the hospital, placing in under quarantine. Who knows full well about the spider and after finding the body of an elderly man, who was killed and eaten by the spider that it has increased in size and has entered stage two. After making his way through air vents, Mathis arrives in the basement. He calls Ramos to let him know he’s found the spider, a conversation overheard by Brant. She goes to the basement and manages to save Mathis just before the spider has a chance to attack him. After which it quickly escapes in the city’s sewer system. Mathis gets told by both Tanner and Brant to stay out of it, something he plans on doing until Ramos talks him into hunting the spider for both fame and glory. So the pair head out to find it before the military, something they are most often able to do. Mathis and Ramos are able to deduce the spider is headed for the park and arrive in time to save Brant from webbing. But she’s taken by the spider when the trio tries to flee, causing Mathis to set his sights on saving her and the city from the now gigantic spider.
My issues with this film is two-fold. The first issue being the lighter of the two offenses and that’s the complete lack of chemistry between Mathis and Brant. I know this issue has to lie with the script as Greg Grumberg rocked in heroes and Clare Kramer is my second favorite Buffy Big Bad, second only to the Mayor. So I know that these two can act, but maybe they just didn’t care enough to try for chemistry. I can only guess at the reasons, but the lack of chemistry really puts a damper on the film as a whole.
My second issue is my main issue and that’s the character of Jose Ramos. Not the actor mind you, Lombardo Boyar is fun, engaging and is without question delivers the one of the best performances in the film. My issue lies in the fact that his character is a terrible racial stereotype. Maybe I’m being over sensitive or maybe I’m just reading further into the character than is meant to be .
Something that B.A.S. did really well was its use of cameos and I love cameos. B.A.S. manages to slip in Lin Shaye and Ruben Pla from Insidious. It also has a Llyod Kaufman as a jogger and any film that features Llyod Kaufman in it has to be doing something right. I also wanna talk about Ray Wise that while not a cameo, plays a relatively small role. The main reason I want to bring him up is he’s constantly showing up in films I watch, and I don’t even follow his career… well intentionally at least. The man has been in Excision, Infestation, One Missed Call and Jeepers Creepers II, just to name a few.
Final thoughts, even with the inclusion of Jose Ramos I can honestly say I enjoyed this film. Would of I enjoyed this film more if they would have toned the character down? That I can’t say. As once I started to move past my initial problems with the character, he started to grow on me. But, I’ve never gotten fully past my issues. Big Ass Spider is campy and cheesy, but only in the best kind of way. Big Ass Spider is an entertaining, if flawed, send up of the classic giant monster movies and while not a horror film has strong enough roots in the genre that I feel it’s still worth watching for fans of the genre. Just don’t take it too seriously. 7/10.