nothing wrong with "Webs", an original Sci-Fi network movie, that
another round of rewrites couldn't fix. For instance, the Crane character played
by David Nerman would be written as human instead of just an all-around jerk
until the very end, when he inevitably redeems himself and dies a gruesome,
though heroic, death. And oh yeah, there's a bunch of spider "mutants"
running around the place with plastic claws and fake, er, backwoods
stars Richard Grieco as an Everyman electrician who stumbles onto a doohickey
that can open a gateway to a parallel Earth. After members of Grieco's crew
accidentally activates the doohickey, the 4-men team find themselves in a
Chicago that looks familiar, but has been overrun by mutant spiders from another
parallel universe. The mutants are controlled by a giant alien queen that gained
access to the world when scientist Colin Fox originally opened the portal 30
years ago. And now that she's eaten up this world's population, the Queen is
looking for another world to feast on.
hate to say it, but there's a reason some movies premiere on the Sci-Fi network
and others go directly to video. In the pabulum of bad sci-fi movies, a premiere
showing on the Sci-Fi Network is actually worst than appearing on video
shelves as a Straight-to-Video victim. In this case, Straight-to-TV is a death
worst than STV, a realization that seemed unfathomable a few years ago. What I'm
trying to say is, "Webs" is on the Sci-Fi Network for a reason: It's
just not a very good movie.
thing about "Webs" isn't that it's cheap, because it is. The budget is
low, which is why the end of the world scenario is confined to a small number of
locations, all of which are used repeatedly. The thing that really sinks
"Webs" is the screenplay, which stretches credulity not in its premise
of parallel worlds, but because of its unbelievably simple characters. The blame
can't be put on director David Wu ("The
Bride With White Hair 2"), who manages decently with what he's been
given. The problem is that he's saddled with a script that doesn't work, makes
little sense, and defies the notion that we're supposed to be watching human
beings, not cardboards.
Grieco is probably the best thing about "Webs". And yes, I never
thought I'd hear myself say (er, type) that statement, but it's true. His Dean
is the most sound of the entire cast, and Grieco's low, growling acting style
works within the confines of the story. As mentioned, David Nerman is given the
role of Professional Jerk, which means that for most of the movie his character
exists only to antagonize Grieco's Dean. Kate Greenhouse plays Elena, an
attractive survivor; one guess who she falls for at first sight and vice versa.
Gee, I wonder if Elena will live.
the scientist whose actions began the destruction of Earth, Colin Fox gets to
say some pretty dumb things. And although Fox's character is responsible for the
death of an entire world, not a single survivor seems to really care about this
little tidbit. Actually, one person even blames Dean for the problem, and
not the good doctor! Er, didn't Dean just stumble onto the portal, while
the doctor actually opened it on purpose?
movie's budget constraints are very obvious. We are treated to the sight of the
Spider Queen (a combination of practical and CGI effects) for about 10 seconds
in the film's first hour, and no more until the final confrontation. In-between,
we get lots of scenes of the Queen's spider soldiers running around with their
rubber claws and protruding fake teeth. And oh yeah, David Nerman's Crane also
gets more and more assholic as the minutes tick by, until that moment in the
film when the screenplay ceases to need an asshole, and thus he becomes somewhat
likeable -- just in time to die heroically, natch.
not saying that "Webs" is a bad movie -- Oh wait, yes I am.