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Spiders II: Breeding Ground
2001 - Stephanie Niznik, Greg Cromer, Richard Moll, Daniel Quinn - 96 Mins.
Director: Sam Firstenberg
Written By: Stephen David Brooks
Starring: Stephanie Niznik, Greg Cromer, Richard Moll, Daniel Quinn
Review by: James O'Ehley
   
The first “Spiders” (2000) was a case of lively idiocy which was fun to watch in an ironic MST3K sort of way. Its 2001 sequel, “Spiders II: Breeding Ground” is a case of dreary idiocy which is a slog to watch. It is a sequel in name only and unrelated in any other way to the first film except in that it also features gigantic overgrown spider monsters.

Alexandra (Stephanie Niznik) and Jason (Greg Cromer) are a young generically good-looking American yuppie couple (don’t you hate them already?). On their way to Hawaii in their private sail boat, the boat capsizes and sinks during a bad storm. They are rescued by a huge cargo ship that happened to passing by. However, all is not kosher on-board.

The cargo ship appears to be going in circles and the ship’s radio, said to be broken by the Captain (Daniel Quinn), actually seems to be working. The crew is obviously hiding something – but what?

And then there is the mysterious Dr. Gabec (played by Richard Moll whom, if he seems familiar to you, it is because he memorably played court guard Bull Shannon on the long-running TV sitcom “Night Court”). Later on it is revealed that Gabec is your typical over-the-top movie mad scientist type, performing experiments involving giant-sized spiders. It is never really revealed what exactly he has in mind with the experiments – not that it really matters in this kind of movie.

Gabec wants to use Jason in his devious experiments and it is up to Alexandra to rescue him. Strangely enough the life cycle of the spider monsters in the movie resemble more those of the alien in the “Alien” movies than any spiders we might know from nature documentaries. The “Aliens” rip-off aspect becomes more apparent when we see the pods in which Gabec stores his unfortunate victims/subjects – I am sure the prop master from the movie bought the ones from James Cameron’s 1986 “Aliens” on e-Bay!

The climax is taken straight from “Aliens” as well as Stephanie Niznik pulls a Ripley/action heroine on us. Not only does she beat up several full-grown sailors (in one memorable scene she attacks a sailor with the toothpick he was nonchalantly chewing on!), she also outwits and fries several spider beasties.

“Spiders 2” is bad and worthy of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (the now defunct American TV show that lampooned bad genre movies) treatment, but in a spirit-crushing and mind-numbing way. Try watching “Spiders 2” late on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll probably wind up feeling suicidal and miserable . . .

“Spiders 2” illustrates what happens when film-makers with a severely limited budget get too ambitious for their own good. When coping with a low, low budget then keeping special effects and prop requirements to a minimum is a good idea.

Most of “Spiders 2” takes place on a deeply entropic (i.e. crummy) cargo ship. Characters go down the same corridor with the same fake background-painted hallway so many times that you want to scream. Same goes for the stairways, rooms, etc. on the ship. But this is actually a good thing. Where the movie really falls on its face is when it kicks off and the script calls for a storm that sinks a small sailboat yacht. Here the CGI is especially crummy (you’ll notice that I’m going to use the term ‘crummy’ a lot in this review), replete with smudgy Vaseline edges where the boat’s hull supposedly sticks out of the water.

Things get a lot worse towards the end when said cargo ship is being overrun by giant spiders ranging from Volkswagen Beetle-sized ones to “Alien” face hugger types. Here you can practically see the inert rubber beasties being dragged along by pieces of string! However, its worst problem is the humourless and overserious way in which the movie goes around its business. Except for Richard Moll’s over-the-top performance, this is a B-movie that takes itself way too seriously.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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