Macabre...ish Horror Review: Arachnophobia


Arachnophobia, 1990/ 110 min. Dark comedy. Dr. Atherton (Julian Sands) combs a rainforest looking for new species of insects and arachnids and unfortunately, finds one, a highly aggressive, venomous and deadly.



A part of his team, a nature photographer, is killed by one and dies in seconds and his body is drained of fluids by the spider during the transport from Venezuela to the US.



After escaping the mortuary, the spider quickly enters the local eco-system and begins breeding with domestic spiders and killing off the locals.


After the spider is picked up by a bird, the spider kills the bird and they land on the Jennings property, a farm now inhabited by newly arrived doctor, Ross Jennings (Jeff Daniels).

He’s set to inherit the retiring doctor’s practice but when that doctor reneges, the new doctor inherits a new problem, the patients he does get, turn up mysteriously dead, landing him the unfortunate title, Dr. Death. He overrules the local doctor’s objection to exhume the corpses and have the examined after he receives the results of a toxicology report. Among the possible culprits, arachnid venom, Dr. Jennings immediately requests the services of Dr. Atherton. With the help of Atherton’s assistant, they discover spider bites on all victims and a serious uptick in spider activity in the area.



Eventually, a local, calls in an exterminator, Delbert McClintock (John Goodman).



Together they discover the spiders have a very short life and that the original male spider, a General, has likely created a Queen and she’s probably already built a nest and bred. And now they have to find her before her spawn hatches.



And they do, in Dr. Jennings barn and her first victim is Dr. Atherton, who figures out her whereabouts first and goes alone. Meanwhile, Jennings, finds and fights off, the General and the Queen, in his wine cellar after he falls through his rotten floor, running from thousands of spiders, that have overrun his house, which he now knows is a second nest.



He launches an assault that includes lobbing bottles of wine at the spiders, then a homemade flame thrower (lighter and aerosol spray). Until the Queen is ultimately killed by being launched into the circuit box and fried.



Jennings finds the nest, a disgusting pulsating mass, with the intent to burn it. After setting random fires around his cellar to get the General and finally flinging him into fire, the egg sac hatches! And the General leaps from the fire and Jennings shoots it with a nail gun and the burning spider lands in the egg sac and destroys the nest. Delbert, after killing lots of drone spiders, rescues Jennings from the burning cellar. And the spider plague is over. The Jennings, return to San Francisco.


Lots of recognizable faces in this cast! Movie speed is pretty good, they don’t make you wait forever for the mayhem to start. Almost no blood and guts, this is more of a jump scare movie and creep fest. No adult scenes, short a very conservative shower nudity, almost no adult language. 

I think there are more dead animals than humans and spiders are everywhere in this movie. So prepare your mind!



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