An undiscovered species of deadly South American spider hitches
a ride to the United States and starts killing in a small town.
Directed by Frank Marshall
Written by Don Jakoby and Wesley Strick
Starring Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, Harley Jane Kozak,
John Goodman, Stuart Pankin, Brian McNamara,
Henry Jones, Mary Carver, James Handy, Mark L. Taylor
Who doesn't love a good creature feature, especially one that's peppered with great comedic moments? Arachnophobia is a delightfully creepy crawly film that will make you shiver at the sight of a spider crawling across your floor. The story is very well-structured and the characters represent small town America so well. But the personality of the spiders steals the show. These guys are cold-blooded killers who stalk humans like a lion stalks a gazelle. The very notion that there could be an ecosystem untouched by man that houses undiscovered species of killer creatures is very disturbing to think about, and this film taps into those fears to great effect.
When Dr. Atherton (Sands) finds a new species of spider, he doesn't notice when it kills his photographer and hitches a ride to Canaima, your typical small town. Meanwhile, Dr. Ross Jennings (Daniels) has just moved there, only to be told the local doctor he was supposed to replace no longer wants to retire. The spider starts reproducing, and people start dying of mysterious ailments all over town. Jennings thinks there's something amiss, and he also suffers from severe arachnophobia. You can see where this is going. The performances are all enjoyable, particularly John Goodman as dedicated exterminator Delbert McClintock. But the spiders are so damn creepy, and it really seems like our heroes can't escape the swarm.
Arachnophobia is a wild ride that ranks among some of the best creature features. It's a good blend of comedy and horror that doesn't take itself too seriously, except in moments where the story calls for it. Definitely a fun watch that has stood the test of time.