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In Afghanistan, Captain Sturges (Brian Krause) and his men get into an
ambush, but out of nowhere (and out of sight of the American soldiers),
the enemy is eliminated by giant camel spiders, and Sturges has only lost
but one soldier - but due to a leg injury, he's sent home with the
soldier's coffin. However, some infant camel spiders have snuck into the
corpse's body and accompanied Sturges to the USA.
Driving through the
US-desert, the truck of Sturges and Sergeant Shelly (Melissa Brasselle)
carrying the coffin is rammed by a car on the run from the police, and
while Sturges and Shelly come away unscathed, the coffin falls off the
truck, and the spiders escape into the desert that's a close of perfect
habitat for them.
At a local diner, Sturges, Shelly, Sheriff Beaumont
(C. Thomas Howell) and a number of civilians are attacked by the spiders
(which have grown in both size and number quite rapidly), and only just
make their escape to a chemical plant in the middle of nowhere.
there the motley crew containing all the typical stereotypes - the evil
land developer (Michael Swan), the dysfunctional family (Hayley Sanchez,
Matthew Borlenghi, Jon Mack), the pacifist needing to be trained to use a
weapon (Michael Bernardi), the local slut with a heart of gold (Diana
Terranova) - try to lock themselves in to wait for the thing to blow over
... only to realize it's getting worse, and they are cut off from the
outer world, too. Eventually, they have to fight their way to an escape
vehicle, a fight during which all the bad guys are punished, several good
guys are allowed to die heroes' deaths, but the core group around Sturges
and Shelly makes it to safety, just moments before the plant gets bombed
to Kingdom Come by the Air Force.
An unrelated subplot shows four
students (Kayla Gill, Shay Baker, Jessica Cameron, Paul Wallace) trying to
make it to safety but stumbling over obstacles (mostly of the camel spider
kind) every step along the way. That plot is eventually avandoned though.
Spiders is basically just what it is, a creature feature, and as such,
actually not one of the more memorable ones, for that it follows the
formula a bit too closely, is too quick to identify heroes and villains
(among the humans), and the situations the characters are thrown into are
a bit too clichée. As for the (digital) special effects: The CGI spiders
of various sizes are surprisingly good and well integrated into the
action, but the CGI blood looks just awful and the gore and mutilation
scenes, while quite on the imaginative side, are not executed to full
That said, Camel Spiders also is proof that director Jim
Winorsky is a specialist when it comes to creature features, and someone
who knows his ways about the history of the genre, so do expect loving
homages to 1950s drive-in cinema and the like, woven into the plot rather
seamlessly. And at the end of the day, as mentioned above, the film is
just what it is, a creature feature - by no means a disaster but also
certainly not a classic of the genre (neither has it set out to be) ...
and if you can accept all that, you'll probably find yourself entertained.