Cheap killer animal movies are almost always silly, and if there’s one guy that can help throw together an enjoyable flick about desert spiders from the middle east who make their way stateside and lay siege to a small town in the middle of nowhere, it’s Roger Corman. But, like the other modern day films under the ‘Roger Corman Presents’ banner, Camel Spiders doesn’t feel like a Corman production; it’s lifeless, dull, and directed by Jim Wynorksi, who hasn’t made anything worth a damn since Chopping Mall.
That might seem a little harsh for a movie promising nothing but oversized spider carnage with its box art depiction of arachnids assaulting a guy’s head and a tagline which reads ‘They really get under your skin.’ Even keeping in mind that exploitation poster art usually exaggerates the film’s content tenfold, it’s really upsetting that spiders only get under someone’s skin once and that really nothing happens for about two-thirds of the movie – which is also a pretty regular occurrence in low-budget films, but expecting to be bored doesn’t really make things any less boring.
After a brief shootout between US Forces and terrorists, a pack of big spiders come out of nowhere and lay waste to the aggressors. Capt. Sturges (Brian Krause) orders the body of one of his men to be shipped back stateside, which the crafty spiders are hiding in. When the casket falls out of the back of a military truck driving through Anytown, USA, the spiders start attacking anything that moves. Camel Spiders then starts following two groups of people: Capt. Sturges and some townspeople who are trapped in a diner and then a factory, and a group of brainy kids who break into a house to take shelter. Better hope you don’t like the kids too much (you won’t, trust me), because the film abruptly stops following them in the third act. I’ll give Camel Spiders this much: at least it tries to mix up several different genres (siege, killer animal, war), even though I’d be hard-pressed to call it ‘successful.’
There’s a high body count and a hilarious airstrike at the climax, but all the sitting around, bad CGI spider attacks, and even worse CGI blood really wears down on you. The non-existent plot and bad acting are expected, but Camel Spiders has the same issues all of the more recent Corman films have: there’s nothing sensational or exploitative about them. He’s produced over 400 movies in his career, and has a tried and true formula – hell, there’s even one last explosion before the film ends – but Spiders leaves out the best ingredient: fun.
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