(Source: Epic Pictures Group)

There are movies that seem to be made specifically for Fantasia. Then there are directors who specifically think of the Fantasia crowd when doing movies, and that’s the case of Mike Mendez, known for his previous film entry, The Convent.

Now he brings us his new Horror/Comedy Big Ass Spider!

Greg Grunberg plays bug exterminator Alex Mathis. After getting stung by a spider and failing to charm the nurse, he offers to help at the hospital when a mortician gets bitten by a rather large spider that comes out of a body bag. From there, he enlists the help of security guard Jose (Lombardo Boyar), trying to beat the military to catching the spider.

There’s a very scary scene as the spider, still small but way too large for a spider, attacks a patient in his bed. If you are not a fan of arachnids you know the worse thing is not when you see them… but when you can’t. When the patient turns away momentarily from the wall and then turns back to find the critter is no longer there, you know he’s the next meal of the 8-legged monster. When the spider grows into spider-zilla proportions, the thematic changes and the movie loses a lot of its creepyness.

It’s underground cinema at its best-worse as Alex and Jose must pursue the spider around LA. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast falls flat. Ray Wise plays the man in charge Mayor Brixton, a character that only shows more than one side of a coin when push come to shove. Clare Kramer is Lieutenant Carly Brant, a very tough soldier who suddenly becomes (ho hum) a basic maiden in distress. There’s no other character with a brain or a heart in the movie.

As underground efforts go, it’s not all bad. However, the copy of the film seemed to have some video problems. I could see black lines in the copy. I could ignore those, but the sound was bad enough that for the second part of the movie the dialog kept playing at a really quiet volume. You couldn’t hear the characters speak when the music score was playing.

I know Mike Mendez will come back with a better effort next time, and this movie did have good moments but the pacing was just not working for me. Still, it makes a decent entry in the B movie category.

That will do for now.

Coming up, a little hiatus. But I’ll come back to Fantasia next week with:

(Sources: 2013 Fantasia Film Festival)