Director Terry Winsor might not be a household name amongst even the most ardent cinephiles. In fact, if you know Winsor’s name at all, it might just be because you’re related to the dude. His oeuvre is a smattering of TV productions and even those are few and far between. But, Terry Winsor holds a dear place in my heart as one the directors on the 1980’s cheese-fest MORGAN STEWART’S COMING HOME (which was ultimately credited to the pseudonym Alan Smithee). Well…Winsor’s latest opus is also a TV movie—made for the Sci-Fi Channel. I’ll bet you can guess what kind of movie this is gonna be! That’s right—a big bug movie.
IN THE SPIDERS WEB follows suit on the barrage of Sci-Fi originals that have pervaded the DVD market over the past two or three years. This one’s about everybody’s favorite eight-legged creepy crawly and it plays out like a cheaper, less funny cousin to Frank Marshall’s delightfully wry ARACHNOPHOBIA.
A group of Eco-tourists (read college-age idiots with money to burn) out for a relaxing trek through the jungles of India wind up in a whole heap of trouble when one of them is bitten by a hairy little beastie and is taken to a mysterious spider-worshipping local village where a mad jungleman doctor (Lance Henriksen) promises that all will be better. Better it seems for him, as Henriksen’s Dr. Lecorpus’ interests lie in harvesting organs and selling them on the black market.
Trust me, the audible groans I detected after you read that last sentiment made it all the way through the digitized ones and zeroes, and believe it, I hear you loud and clear. But, give it a moment. This one ain’t as bad as it sounds on paper. Henriksen is surely phoning the performance in. The rest of the cast is passive to passable. The CGI and the rubber spiders—mixed with a (more than expected) number of living, breathing arachnids—serve their purpose. But the thing that really makes this film work better than KOMODO VS. COBRA or SWARMED is the intimacy of the story—meaning the filmmakers worked within their budgetary restrictions rather than ignore them completely.
Sure, plot wise, the film’s nothing earth shattering, but it does manage to offer just the right amount of extra cheese—delivered on time and piping hot. There’s some silly subtext, a third act that has masses of spiders and mazes of webs galore and a satisfying ending all chugging along at under 90-minutes, laying out more-or-less precisely what a film like this promises to provide. It’s not brain surgery here (it’s organ harvesting…get it?). This is just a dopey B-Movie and considering some of the dopey B-Movies that Lance Henriksen has been in lately (ahem THE GARDEN) this one is damn near Shakespearian.
So, Grab some popcorn and a “significant other” that’s reasonably scared of those spooky little suckers and get ready for a schlocky flick overrun with a billion furry legs and a boatload of bad dialogue—everything that makes B-moviedom a bit brilliant. Oh, and while you’re at it, let’s start a petition to get MORGAN STEWART’S COMING HOME out on DVD.