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Default Spiders II



Reviewer: Rhett
Review Date: November 15, 2002

Released by: Lionsgate
Release date: 9/24/2002
MSRP: $24.99
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



Sharks? Okay. Rats? Understandable. But spiders? I have never understood why these tiny eight-legged creatures are so reviled and feared by society. They have the circumference of corn kernel and are about as harmful as reading a book. I've watched Arachnophobia, but really, 200 dumb little arachnids is not any scarier than a single one of them. Proving that not even the major failure of Eight Legged Freaks at the box office can stop the "creepy crawly" sub-genre, Lions Gate has released Spiders 2: Breeding Ground on DVD. Should you be scared of the giant spiders, or the film itself? Read on to find out.


The Story

inline ImageThe film begins with a man feeding his pet spider, but there is something a little different about this. Not only is his spider three feet tall, but it also preys on human bodies! Next, there is a small ship with a bunch of people playing cards that gets sabotaged by a legion of masked men. And finally, two lovers out at sea, Jason (Greg Cromer) and Alexandra (Stephanie Niznik), discover the now abandoned boat and jump aboard to investigate. As luck would have it, a huge storm is approaching, and the two are tossed out to sea, wading frantically in the turbulent waters.

inline Image Thankfully, a ship captain saves them, and they are hoisted upon an old cargo ship. There is a doctor on board, Dr. Grbac (Richard Moll), and he treats the two of them and looks after Jason's wounds. Unbeknownst to both Jason and Alexandra, the doctor also injects some vile chemicals into Jason, preparing to turn him into a host for spider eggs. Dr. Grbac is working on splicing human DNA with spider DNA in order to construct the ultimate species, and Jason, along with many other comatose patients, are to be his guinea pigs.

inline Image Jason begins to doubt the medication he is receiving and tries to inform Alexandra of what is going on. She, nor the rest of the crew, believes him, and it is only a matter of time before the spiders inside of him hatch. Will Alexandra come around and realize that Jason is not really hallucinating? Will Dr. Grbac's evil plot be stopped? Will there be another sequel? Watch and you shall see.



inline ImageYou know you are in trouble when you find out the director of this film was also responsible for Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Spiders 2 is a by the numbers direct-to-view release with no originality in front or behind the camera. It is basically a point-and-shoot affair, with no style or intensity in the film's presentation. The pacing is not overtly slow, but the film lingers on and could really have ended much sooner than it did. The fact that gaping plot holes and abandoned plot threads are prevalent also does not help the film. Like for instance, why was the ship at the start attacked, or how can a crew replace a freezer full of human bodies with meat in less than two minutes?

inline Image The spiders themselves are also very unappealing, in that they possess no intelligence and no real threat to any of the characters. They just sort of luckily pop up in situations and off the nearest person; there is no calculated method to their attacks. Films like Alien and The Thing work because the creature is intelligent, because it slowly stalks and torments its victims. It has a plan, it has a goal; the spiders in this film lack any of these characteristics, and therefore lack any ability to frighten. The shoddy computer effects also take away from the effect of the spiders, making them more laughable than frightening. If the villains in a film lack any sense of threat then all the suspense is lost, and when a genre like the horror genre relies on fright as its ultimate motive for entertainment, such a flaw is unforgivable.

It was pleasant seeing the quirky, but always enjoyable Richard Moll (House) in the film, and a Scarface in-joke was a surprise, but together they do little to save this mediocre time waster. The first film never needed a sequel at all, and hopefully with this mess will squash the idea of another sequel.


Image Quality

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer here is good, but nothing special. There is no grain or print blemishes to be found, but the overall color scheme is a bit dark and muted. Perhaps it is due to the juvenile photography, but the film looked fairly murky and unappealing throughout, with long, dark, murky hallways and widespread browns and greens. The transfer is fairly sharp though, and the overall transfer should not disappoint or overwhelm the viewer.

Sound

Lions Gate presents Spiders 2 in a Dolby Stereo track, and for a 2.0 mix, it sounds fairly good. There is a nice fullness to the track during the storm sequences and when pod doors open and shut, and the dialogue is understandable and clear throughout. A little more discrete channel separation between the left and right speakers would have been nice, but for a low-budget production this will more than suffice.

Supplemental Material

Only full-screen trailers are included on this release, and some of which are more enjoyable than the film. There is the great The Rules of Attraction trailer, as well as trailers for Frailty, Lovely & Amazing, the Kevin Smith-produced Vulgar and Spiders 2. Nothing major, but the movie didn't really deserve anything more anyways.


Final Thoughts

Considering that the spiders in Spiders 2 are not in the least bit scary, that leaves the film with little much else going for it. The audio and video transfers are acceptable, and some of the trailers are enjoyable, but when the film is this bad, the presentation doesn't really matter. There are several great horror films being released on DVD this fall, and Spiders 2 is not one of them. Buy some pesticide and shield your DVD player from this bug.

Rating

Movie - C-
Image Quality - B
Sound - B
Supplements - C-


Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 36 minutes
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Stereo
  • English subtitles
  • Spanish subtitles

Supplements
  • Lionsgate trailers

 

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