Saturday, 4 December 2010

Film: Arachnophobia, 1990, Frank Marshall

Week 11 in the narrative project was marked by a lot of snow(that almost closed us inside the University) and a film that haunt my childhood. The film is Arachnophobia, and although I don't have a fear for spiders the toilet scene always marked my childhood in the creepiest of the ways. Enough of personal confessions for now.
Arachnophobia is a 1990's Comedy/ Sci-Fi film which was based on much earlier Sci-fi Insect films, however it did not scale them much bigger or made them hybrid with humans, it did indeed use them in the more uncanny form, just as they are but by the millions.

So the films commences when a expedition led by Doctor James Atherton ( Julian Sands), a specialist in insect wildlife,  to Venezuela in order to find new species of insects doesn't go quite the way it should. The photographer in the expedition is killed sneakily by a new species of terrifying and hostile spiders, which also embarks with the body back to a small town in California.
In this small town, a new-come family, who swaps the city life for a quiet rural life, does not find the place as quiet as they think. Firstly, the husband Dr. Ross Jenning, played by Jeff Daniels , before moving receives a job offer by Dr. Metcalf, to substitute him, however this same offer is later postponed, when Dr. Jennings is already settle in the small town.
On the way out of the meeting, Dr. Jennings meets Margaret, a neighbour,  and becomes her new doctor, advising her in her health life. However it also coincides with her death by the spider attack, and of other patients seen by Dr. Jennings. This makes Dr. Metcalf blame the young Dr. for what happened.
The last victim of the spider is Dr. Metcalf himself. though before he dies he gives the clue to solve this whole mystery, when he says that he was bitten by a spider.
Dr. Jennings determined to find what really happened to all the victims and their association with spider attacks, hire help by the Dr. Atherton to identify these species of spider, which poison is the most lethal ever seen.

Being a small town in America, everybody is there to help, from the Police Officer to the insect exterminator , played by the funny John Goodman. Jennings and Atherton's assistant
In order to resolve this problem they have to capture a specimen and study it. After the spider being caught, they study it and then they conclude where the spider nest will be, the place also coincides to where the Dr. Jennings lives with his family.
Hastily he goes to his house and save his family, Dr. Jennings is faced with an unusual scenario where thousands of spiders invade their house, they come from everywhere, from the ceiling from the floor from under the doors. Jennings, his family and the assistant run upstairs to the toiletand lock themselves in, and the Dr. is left behind. In an attempt to getaway of the house he tries to go through the front door, where hundreds of spider surveil the area.
Being an arachnophobe himself, he scarily tries to run but he falls from the first floor to the basement, there he has the final encounter with the queen spider who is solely guarding the eggs, as if with intelligence, the spider sneakily attacks him. he regains conscience and fights back. After experience something that he felt in his childhood with the spiders and led him to be an arachnophobe, he has the will to fight back with fire the spider and kill it alongside its eggs.
To finalise the film in a funny way, he is saved from the basement by the insect exterminator.

Arachnophobia is a film which marked my childhood in a creepy way, as it effectively puts her closer and closer to the insect world that always been there, despite how camouflage it may look. As mentioned before, he uses the same elements of the 1950's B-movie , an invasion by insects, however as different as it looks, it does not scale them or hybrid them, they remain the same and therefore create one of the most uncanny feelings.
With a rating of 85% on the review website Rotten Tomatoes, this film is reviewed by Erik Childress from the, as 'The creepiest most entertaining insect invasion I've ever seen', indeed this film connects two opposite genre, Sci-Fi and Comedy, well, where the viewer will not be very scared but also will not particularly enjoy the experience.
The success in the film is driven by a good cast of actors, such as Jeff Daniels, as the arachnophobe Dr Jennings and the hilarious insect exterminator played by John Goodman; but also the use of adequate special effects to drive the narrative, such as the beautifully yet disturbing shot of the spider webs in the wooden house. Which create really suspenseful moments, where the viewer often is jumping on his seat.

Finally, a film really interesting to remember from my childhood, however this time it seemed more funny than ever before!

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