The late 90s are not anymore. It’s the first year of the new millennium, the Y2K didn’t set off nuclear bombs leading the way for the world of Fist Of The North Star, just produced a lot of scams and made a lot of people work overtime to avoid “the bug” actually affecting things as believed.
Not that it matters, because for movies like this, it’s always the 50s regardless of what decade they are made in, it’s always about giant bugs or insects or arthropods made big thanks to the power of Radiation (©), or aliens, or both.
And since it’s the late 90s-early 2000s, you can take a wild guess this comes from our old friend Nu Image, taking a break from sharks to give the ancestors of Rachnera Arachnera their part as the killer giant animals protagonists of another creature feature. Alien killer giant animals, to be precise.
The plot concerns an alien conspiracy nutcase journalist receiving a hint from her anonymous informant about a facility in the desert, and she drags along two fellow writers in order to get a big story and shut up everyone who thinks she’s just obsessed with aliens, goverment conspiracies and similar tin foil hat territory.
This doesn’t have too much to do with the actual plot, as Spiders it’s actually about NASA conducting DNA experiments in a space shuttle, which is then hit by a solar flare, mutating the spider into a deadlier creature that attacks the crew and causes the shuttle to malfunction and falling to Earth. It just happens that it falls in the desert, EXACTLY where the teen journalists where snooping around, so they can witness the goverment cover it up with murder, and it just happens they hide in the very same vans the soldier dump the evidence (and corpses), inadvertingly doing a “Metal Gear” (the NES one) and uncovering a secret lab full of aliens in jars, weird stuff, and the plan to make world domination use with the alien and spider DNA, or something.
This isn’t a plot per sé, it’s just an ensemble of convenient coincidences, thing told but not shown (most likely due to budget). And spiders. Man-eating spiders.
I’m probably committing some kind of sin by saying this, but i think it might have been actually kind of entertaining if they got Danny Lerner (Shark Zone, Raging Sharks, Sharks In Venice) to direct it, he’s involved but just as producer. At least his movies are kinda watchable and his direction manages to string you along despite the usual array of flaws and bullshit.
The script, the usual array of sub-par acting and unlikeable characters don’t really help, obviously, but Gary Jones’ direction isn’t complete ass, and at least things happen at a decent pace, just don’t expect to feel somewhat involved in anything that happens on screen. Could be FAR worse.
In a way, Spiders it’s the quintessential example of a direct to video creature feature, because the only things worth ANY kind of attention in it are the special effects used for the creatures-monsters.
Sure, this is a Nu Image production, so you can expect some stock footage edited together with the new one but still too obvious NOT to notice, and the CG effects for the spiders are incredibly dated, and i would guess didn’t look that great even at the times. But honestly the practical effects are surprisingly good, especially the giant spider animatronic, pretty detailed and well crafted, gore isn’t bad at all neither, and the practical explosions looks decent enough (not so much the digital ones).
I wouldn’t exactly recommend the movie in its entirety, i mean, it’s just sub-par direct to video creature feature with a low budget to it, but not that LOW, it’s in that “zone” where one would be generous to call it mediocre, but it can be entertaining at times, and it will kill 90 minutes. The less dedicated trash buffs might just prefer to see a compilation of the kills on Youtube, there are SO many worse and better B-movies to spend time with. Nothing special, but there’s some fun to it.