A team of electricians is sent into an abandoned house to prepare it for demolition. However they stumble upon a previously-unknown room, powered by a tiny nuclear reactor, which contains all manner of weird equipment. When one of the group messes with the power, a beam of light appears and sucks the men into it. They emerge into a parallel universe where humans are now on the menu – from a giant spider queen and her countless armies.
Once again the lure of decent-looking cover box art has conned me into watching something that pretty much has no right to exist. Actually, I didn’t buy this one for a change: I rented it out free of charge courtesy of my job. My guardian angel was clearly looking out for me somewhere because I’d have probably thrown myself off a high building had I actually stumped up the usual money I pay for these cheap jack efforts. Truth be told, Webs isn’t as bad as I’m making out. Let’s take a look.
I have slight problems with films that have big ideas but little money to bring them to life. You almost feel sorry for people involved at times. You know they want to make a big film and they clearly have some idea of where to go but they don’t have the cash to realise it and their end products suffer as a result. Webs is one such end product. The whole idea of spiders taking over the planet and forcing humanity into small resistance cells was way too huge for the modest sum of money that someone bank rolled here. Instead of seeing the ‘whole picture’ of the effects of this conquest on the planet, the film just uses the same bland warehouse sets over and over again and confines the characters inside for most of the running time. If you’re going to suggest the end of humanity, I actually want to see it! You do need your brain dropping off at the first floor before you take the elevator of plot holes and bad writing. Tiny nuclear reactors? Come on!
A cardinal sin the film makes is that it starts off pretty stupidly it has to be said, with the electricians discovering the portal and then finding themselves in the alternate reality. So many questions will run through your head and the film doesn’t really bother explaining anything for a long time. People with giant claw hands running of buildings? I guess the writers know you’re watching a film called Webs and think that 2+2=4 so you must think these people are spiders. Then the film turns into an endless array of spider-people chasing people, fights and then more spider-people chasing people around the warehouses. It gets boring pretty quickly.
Richard Grieco ‘stars’ but he’s either slumming badly or it’s a body double for most of the film. He makes a bland hero but I guess you can’t blame anyone for not wanting to bust a gut in a film like this. Kate Greenhouse fares a lot better as the intelligent love interest but once again her character is written so thinly that you can pretty much predict what she’s going to say and do throughout the film. There’s little soppy romance between the two even though they do fall for each other. We’re spared most of the usual crap. The worst part about the script is that the characters do exactly what you think they’re going to do at all times….but even more so than usual. For example, the whole idea of Richard Grieco’s character being the chosen one is pretty blah at best. But he accepts his fate so readily and without question. I guess being an electrician sucks so bad that you’ll accept any notion of being a hero without the smallest hint of questioning. Colin Fox, as the token scientist, also has a really hard time with the script. He’s the one who has to try and make all of the talk about aliens and parallel universes sound plausible and he fails miserably.
I didn’t expect to see a lot of special effects on show and I was right. The spider queen is given brief screen time early on in the film and is a mix of a decent-looking model and really bad CGI. You’ll guess right if you don’t expect to see it again until the finale. In the meantime, there’s plenty of spider-people running around doing her dirty work. By spider-people I mean actors with big rubber claws and fake teeth. And there are a lot of them. Sometimes they come off zombie-like in their mass-attack strategies and uncanny knacks of jumping out from tiny places for shock value. But at the end of the day, as much as I’m hammering the film, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Now there’s a first!
The film is never engaging in the slightest and it gets pretty boring at times, but I think there’s some morbid curiosity in there as to how everything will turn out. Wait a minute – I know how everything is going to turn out from the start. But the slightest, tiniest chance that I could be wrong kept me going. Unfortunately I wasn’t wrong and the film pans out like the ‘My First Sci-Fi Film’ book of filmmaking. And the ending? O…K….
Webs is a bad film. But it’s not totally terrible, given the idea of alien spiders conquering a parallel universe that someone pitched (jokingly I would guess) to the producers and the amount of money they got to make it in return. I can’t be going soft on crap films, can I?