Eight Legged Freaks | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Eight Legged Freaks

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A cunning and hilarious update of the giant-insect movies of the 1950s, this debut feature by Ellory Elkayem delivers one suspenseful sequence after another, staged with knowing humor and allusions to classic thrillers (among them The Birds, Alien, and Dawn of the Dead). David Arquette (Scream) stars as a good-natured doofus who returns to his hometown in the Arizona desert, begins prospecting for gold in a mine located under a shopping mall, and discovers that a chemical spill has produced several species of deadly (and very noisy) spiders. In the old days a picture like this would have stopped dead in its tracks for some moralizing speech about greed or science run amok, but Elkayem isn't interested in anything but upping the fright quotient, and his deliciously cheap thrills made me want to scream and laugh at the same time. With Kari Wuhrer, Scarlett Johansson, and Doug E. Doug as a local radio personality ranting about an alien invasion. 99 min. Burnham Plaza, Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, Ford City, Gardens 1-6, Lincoln Village, McClurg Court, Norridge, North Riverside, Village North, Webster Place.

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