by Tibor Takacs (Director)
Review by Gayle Surrette
Sony Pictures DVD ISBN/ITEM#: B000UAFDQ6
Date: 15 October 2007 List Price $24.96 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Trailer / Sony Home Video / Show Official Info /
Ice Spiders. The name set up some expectation for me since I hadn't seen the synopsis before viewing. I thought the spiders were going to be coming down from some glaciers and attacking people as they reclaimed their old habitats. Now doesn't that sound like a good film? Well, it's not this film.
This film is far more prosaic. Scientists working in a secret lab in the mountains of Utah are tinkering with genetics to breed large spiders so that they can work with larger quantities of spider silk for non-lethal military and civilian applications. Now this sounds great except that the primary investigator has been treating the spiders on the sly from the other researchers. Now, the spiders are out of food and big enough to break out, and they do. Luckily, the population of the mountain is very small, almost nonexistent really -- except for the ski lodge which has a team training for the Olympic trials, some vacationers, and the staff.
That's the perfect set up for a small group to be terrorized by genetically engineered monstrosities. Then we have the obligatory types: evil researcher, good researcher who sees the error of her evil boss' ways, the kindly ski lodge owner, the has-been Olympic hopeful/now ski instructor, the reservations desk clerk (this time a ski-boarding dude), and the ski team (with the usual mix of know-it-all and bickering young people).
Actually, there's some good work in this film. The special effects of the spiders is pretty good. Each spider is spliced with genes that represent an existing type and the FX people actually stuck to that spider type. Each spider is a different color so you can keep track of them as they run around demolishing people and material. However, the large disconnects in continuity were continually taking me out of the movie and wondering why no one noticed that the hurt guy was drooling blood over himself in one close-up and in the next he was clean and immediately after he was bloody again. This is only one of the noticeable problems. It's often this lack of attention to detail that takes away from the suspension of belief that such a movie requires.
The set up and the basic premise could have been really good or really awful. This one is entertaining, but not more than mediocre. I wouldn't avoid watching it but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it. It would need more kitsch and a lot better acting to reach the level of Eight Legged Freaks and it's nowhere scary enough to be, well scary.
The problem for me is that it just doesn't have anything special about it. In trying to meet the codes for TV it just doesn't have a focus -- it's not horror, not good biological terror unleashed, or light-hearted semi-serious spoof of the genre (thought I think it came closest to this one).
So, it's worth watching on the tube but I wouldn't rent it or go to the theater for it. I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars.