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B-movie mastermind Jim Wynorski’s 2012 creature feature “Camel Spiders” doesn’t waste any time getting to the good stuff. After an extremely quick credit sequence, the film is underway, opening with a wonky shoot-out in Iraq (yeah, right) that immediately introduces the titular beasties to the audience. This unholy legion of spiders ultimately helps our heroes defeat the enemy, though the American forces don’t escape unharmed. Not only do a few soldiers lose their lives in the bullet-riddled fray, their corpses serve as a way for the blood-thirsty arachnids to take an unscheduled holiday to the United States. All sorts of hell soon breaks loose. If you’ve seen any of Wynorski’s movies, you should know exactly what you’re in for.
The spiders soon find their way into a small town in the middle of nowhere, a fine location for all sorts of monster-related mayhem. Fortunately for the well-armed townsfolk, Brian Krause and C. Thomas Howell are on the case, the latter of whom sports of slick cowboy hat and one gnarly mustache. Both actors chew copious amounts of scenery as they expend countless rounds of ammunition in their attempt to keep these seemingly unstoppable computer-generated villains from taking over the planet. To keep things interesting, Wynorski and co-writer J. Brad Wilke have peppered their script with a large number of expendable characters. After all, if you don’t have a high body count, what’s the point of making a low-budget monster movie?
The film, of course, has its fair share of problems, though, to be honest, I really don’t know if they’re worth mentioning. Picking on something as moronic and simple-minded as “Camel Spiders” almost seems cruel and unfair. The cast and crew aren’t aiming for anything remotely high brow; all they really want to do is inflate the body count as high as their modest budget will allow. Everything sandwiched in-between these gory moments is extraneous. Is your bladder full to the point of bursting? Just wait until the characters start discussing their hopes, their dreams, and their histories. It’s all filler, and you honestly don’t need any of it. In fact, read a book while you’re waiting for the spiders to come back around.
Recommending “Camel Spiders” to casual movie-goers is dicey. If you’re standing at a Redbox kiosk and the toothless, beer-swilling redneck behind you won’t stop breathing down your neck, drop a dollar and change on the flick and pick up some strong alcohol on your way home. It’s not the most inventive creature feature currently on the market, but you could definitely do a lot worse. I’d pay a whole dollar just to watch C. Thomas Howell shoot spiders while wearing a cowboy hat. Sure, the mustache is a nice touch, but it’s really all about the cowboy hat. Fans of “Arachnophobia” and “Tremors” will probably appreciate it the most.
Jim Wynorski (director) / Jim Wynorski and J. Brad Wilke (screenplay)
CAST: Brian Krause … Capt. Sturges
C. Thomas Howell … Sheriff Beaumont
Rocky DeMarco … Sgt. Shelly Underwood