Henry Barthes is a highly recommended substitute teacher, a compliment he doesn't really accept. His latest job is subbing at an inner city high school for a month, where exam grades are slipping; the pupils are unruly and the head teacher is under fire for the decline in standards there.
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A truck carrying radioactive waste, a sleepy driver, a rabbit in the middle of the road and a subsequent crash near a dilapidated roadside attraction called Taft's Exotic Spider Farm are all it takes to make the opening scene of "Eight Legged Freaks" feel packed with comedy-horror promise.
For the most part, this tongue-in-cheek homage to 1950s monster-bug movies lives up to that promise, bringing hordes of giant mutant spiders to the screen to prey on B-list stars like David Arquette ("Scream," etc.) Kari Wuhrer ("Anaconda"), Scarlett Johansson ("Ghost World") and Doug E. Doug ("Operation Dumbo Drop") -- all of whom happily exhibit their best B-movie bombast.
Long on cheese, refreshingly short on gore (spiders don't bleed, they ooze green goop), "Freaks" maintains a balance between creepy scares that startle, silly scares that get a laugh and moments that make you go, "Ewww!" The movie never aspires to anything more than eventually getting the entire (surviving) population of a Southwestern small town into their run-down shopping mall, where they try to beat down enormous arachnids with sporting goods and mannequins.
Continue reading: Eight Legged Freaks Review
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