Big Ass Spider! is a special effects-driven bigsploitation/assploitation/spidsploitation action adventure comedy extravaganza written by Gregory Gieras, directed by Mike Mendez and starring Greg Grunberg (Heroes) as lonely-heart pest exterminator and savior of mankind, Alex Mathis.
The film opens with Alex going to the emergency room for treatment after suffering a bite from an ordinary, small ass spider. While Alex flirts awkwardly with his improbably hot care provider of normal-ass size, the coroner is busy in the morgue examining the body of a dead ass scientist. When the coroner is attacked by a medium ass spider hiding in the scientist's body bag, Alex agrees to slay the beast in lieu of paying his expensive ass hospital bill. So much for Obamacare, amirite?
When Major Ass Army Guy Ray Wise arrives with his foxy ass army lady assistant and a smart ass scientist who explains that the spider in question had been exposed to an experimental growth serum intended to end world hunger by creating big ass cows, big ass chickens and big ass strawberries, Alex and his sidekick, Jose "The Mexican Robin" Ramos, team up with a big ass squad of tough ass army dudes, to kick the holy LV-426 out of the rapidly expanding Areanus gluteus maximus.
Big Ass Spider! is one of those movies that you can pretty much trust your spidey sense on. If you're the type of person who is interested in movies about big ass spiders, look no further. All films make a contract with the viewer. When you go to see The Road Warrior, there had better be some road warring. Bridge on the River Kwai had better have a bridge and it had better be on the River Kwai. Sharknado...well you get the point. On this score, Big Ass Spider! holds up its end of the cinematic bargain: there is a spider and its ass is undeniably huge.
But beyond this, Big Ass Spider! exceeds expectations. The spider effects are decent, the action is well paced, the characters are appealing and most of the jokes are funny. Even without a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger), it would still be apparent that Mendez and Gieras are paying homage to their Tromatic childhoods. Big Ass Spider! is a low-budget film that hearkens back to the days of the drive-in, the midnight movie and the straight-to-VHS monster schlock-fest.
Like the filmmakers of a generation ago who drew inspiration from the Saturday morning serials of their youth and ushered in a new era of feature-length adventures, Mendez and Gieras have taken up the mantle of their forbears and moved the ball further down the cinematic field. Comparing Big Ass Spider! to Raiders of the Lost Ark is...okay...a stretch. But in an era of filmmaking that even Steven Spielberg and George Lucas think is unsustainable, surviving Peak Blockbuster means loving what you create, whether the budget is $1 or $100 million.
It would equally be a stretch to say that Big Ass Spider! represents the last, best hope for an art form buckling under the weight of hit-driven risk aversion and increasingly narrow margins on increasingly bloated budgets, but it does represent the kind of commitment to entertainment that will inspire the next generation of filmmakers armed with small ass budgets and big ass dreams.
Big Ass Spider! has big ass heart, and big ass heart counts for a big ass lot.
Big Ass Spider! is available on Blu-Ray, Amazon and YouTube rental.
Jason Shankel is a big ass writer and creative developer who knows that with big ass power comes big ass responsibility.