Blu-ray
Highly Recommended
4 stars
Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
1.5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

Big Ass Spider!

Street Date:
January 7th, 2014
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
January 8th, 2014
Movie Release Year:
2013
Studio:
Epic Pictures
Length:
80 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

It's very interesting to me that tons of B-Movies are becoming mainstream these days. There used to be a time when these schlocky flicks would only be seen by the purest of cinephiles, and the general public would be oblivious that there were such types of cinema gracing the big and small screens around their neighborhood. Not to mention, the only way to catch these fun films was in the back of your local video store, or late at night on some obscure cable channel. But nowadays, thanks to networks like SyFy, or film companies like Alamo Drafthouse, more and more B-Movies are being made, with a bigger audience clamoring to watch the latest giant monster and natural disaster destroy the world.

Most recently, a movie named 'Sharknado,' which was literally about a tornado made of sharks that ripped through giant cities, killing people left and right, not only aired at primetime on a national network, but received some of the highest ratings of that genre. The film made the rounds on national news, and created a firestorm of discussions and fan clubs across the internet. Needless to say, these grindhouse type movies are here to stay for a while, and I'm okay with that. And that's why writer Gregory Gieras and director Mike Mendez decided to make a movie called 'Big Ass Spider', which is about, you guessed it, a big ass spider that attacks and destroys a large city, and kills tons of people.

Mendez and Gieras knew exactly what they were getting into in creating this homage to old monster movies with this recent take on these B-Movies. While the premise is absurd and over-the-top, the execution and filmmaking is that of a great Hollywood movie. With it's super low budget, the filmmakers really went the extra mile to not only make this film a lot of fun, but a true cinema experience, one you won't soon forget with it's fun CG spider, dry comedy, and high-octane thrills.

Our main hero here is Alex (Greg Grunberg) who is an exterminator with a heart of gold, as he enjoys capturing the animals and insects rather than killing them. He heads to the hospital after being bitten by a spider only to find out that a bigger spider has escaped from some guy's chest, and has a few special skills. One skill is that it grows at a super fast pace to the size of a skyscraper. It wouldn't be a B-Movie without some form of government official in the midst of the disaster, but at least here we get the amazing actor Ray Wise as that official to try and take care of business.

For those of you wanting to see some fun and gruesome deaths, don't worry, your appetite will be satisfied, as there are plenty of innocent bystanders enjoying their day in the beautiful city who become impaled by a giant spider leg, eaten, or spun into a cocoon. Mendez's camera makes the film look like it was made on a budget ten times its size with some impressive pans and shots, while Gieras' script has this short 80 minute film never letting up on the action and thrills. And while the acting in this movie won't win any awards, Grunberg sure knows how to carry a movie with charisma, wit, and charm. And I have to say, 'Big Ass Spider' is big ass fun and should be seen with friends.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Big Ass Spider' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This low budget digitally shot film looks fairly good, but has a few small problems to go with it. The detail is sharp that shows some well-defined textures in closeups and costumes. The CG looks decent too, and never silly, although the premise is.

Colors are vibrant and well saturated, with the black levels running deep and inky. Skin tones are natural and smooth as well. The brighter scenes definitely look better than the darker scenes as some light banding, motion blur, and aliasing pop up in those darker scenes. Other than that, there are no other compression issues to speak of. Overall, this is good video presentation.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a great DolbyTrue HD 5.1 audio mix that does everything you want it to do and more. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand with no evidence of pops, cracks, or hissing. The sound effects, carnage, and screaming sound impressive, as they pour out often and loud from the surrounds.

The ambient noises of spider attacks and people running for their lives prove for some great directionality and sound crisp and clean. The bass rumbles when the giant arachnid charges and the score always intensifies the scene, while never drowning out any dialogue or sound effects. This is one hell of an audio track, and I wish more action films had a good mix like this one.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Audio Commentary - Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, and Mike Mendez all sit in for this audio commentary, and you can tell these guys have a fun time with each other on and off screen. They tend to talk at the same time a lot, but they provide some fun behind the scenes stories, the difficulty shooting on such a small budget, and they even point out some fun cameos throughout the film. This is a good listen.
  • 'Big Ass Spider' Premiere (HD, 6 mins) - Here is the SXSW premiere of the film in Austin with crowd reactions and more.
  • Interviews (HD, 7 mins) - A very short and scripted promo type feature with the cast and crew talking about the film.
  • Trailers (HD, 4 mins) - Three trailers for the film.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'Big Ass Spider' is a great time. It's better than you're anticipating in every way, and loads better than the SyFy original films that tend to pack our DVRs and shelves today. It's got everything you want in a movie called 'Big Ass Spider'. The video and audio are both great, with a decent commentary and a couple other short extras. You'll have a lot of fun with this schlock. Highly recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 25GB Blu-ray Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • English: Dolby TrueHD 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • None.

Supplements

  • Audio Commentary
  • 'Big Ass Spider' Premiere
  • Interviews
  • Trailers

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