Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is Camel Spiders Mindless Fun? A Movie Review

Director: Jim Wynorski.

Writers: Jim Wynorski and J. Brad Wilke.

Cast: Brian Krause, C. Thomas Howell and Melissa Brasselle.

Better than watching Gremlins 2 and Tremors combined, Camel Spiders has a fairly mixed up tale about mutant arachnoids taking over a dusty town. Although these monstrous beasts are computer-generated, that does not distract from the fun this movie tries to make. To see victims ensnared in spider webs is morbidly and potentially horrific. Mummified carcasses makes for some easy creep out sessions.

But to see how this tale of survival horror will pan out will depend on only one thing: just how adept are the military in cleaning up the mess they caused? Apparently dick all. After an engagement with enemy forces in Afghanistan, a swarm of camel spiders comes out of nowhere to join in the chaos and suddenly, there is a man down.

The bug crawls inside the soldier, and he should have been embalmed on the spot than taken home. Back in the USA, Captain Sturges (Brian Krause) and Sgt. Underwood (Rocky DeMarco) are transporting the body. After a near miss of crashing into another vehicle, the coffin holding the body spills out and opens up. Round two is about to begin.

Roger Corman is the executive producer of this movie and in what he says is a go, any element put into this movie is a go. And that includes a dozen or so characters to keep track of. C Thomas Howell plays the sheriff, and he’ll no doubt be important for most of the film. Well, maybe. In the military front, Sturges tries to help contain the situation, but not all plans work.

For Corman, an icon of the B-movie genre, his guerrilla filmmaking style is very evident throughout the film. It follows the panic of various people being beseiged by spiders by following them everywhere. Much like Tremors, the people in this small town are looking for safe harbour.

There are two groups, some college co-eds who have decided to lock themselves up in a basement, and some townsfolk, who have bunkered down in a on massive warehouse. In this long break, there is an attempt at character development, but in the details of what is revealed, none of it seems revalent in making audiences care. Starship Troopers do a better job at showing how high school buddies win at the end, but this film does not even get that far in terms of exposition.

The camel spiders are hungry and they know where everyone is. As for how some of these monsters have suddenly grown in size, that is a mystery that will never fully be explained. When the cast is finally whittled down, well, just maybe viewers can start to feel for the survivors. But this movie does not even get that far.

This movie is like a bad western that lost its edge. The good part of the movie is its bluegrass style music. It’s familiarly inspiring. The bad is the pitiful attempt to marry the CGI with the sets. No attempt at blending at the seams was done. The ugly, where did the plot go?

The only way this movie can be enjoyed is with certain brain receptors turned off and finding this video in a $5 bin. That way, some consumers will not feel too ripped off.

Overall: 4 out of 10.

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