Lionsgate // 2002 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 21st, 2003
A new breed of terror.
DVD box synopsis of Spiders II: Breeding Ground:
When Jason and Alexandra are rescued from their sinking boat by Dr. Grbac and his floating medical lab, Jason insists there is more to the charming doctor than meets the eye. Suspicious, Jason starts snooping around the cargo boat and finds dead bodies stashed in a freezer vault. He tells Alexandra of his morbid finding but the bodies suddenly disappear. When Jason violently insists the doctor is up to something, she becomes convinced that he has lost his mind and he is sent to the ship's infirmary. As the doctor administers Jason an unknown shot, he sees a two foot spider split through the chest of another women in the lab...
Judge Naugle's translation:
When a couple of no name actors are rescued from their sinking vessel (budget cost: $13.76) by Dr. I-Gotta-A-Really-Weird-Name and his floating med lab (budget cost: $23.45), Jason insists there is more to the charming doctor than meets the eye, if only because the movie needs to have more of a plotline than just killer spiders. Suspicious, Jason starts snooping around the cheesy sets and props and finds dead bodies (AKA desperate actors who need résumé filler) stashed in a freezer vault. He tells Alexandra (an actress who will never put this film on her résumé) of his morbid findings but the bodies suddenly disappear (no, that doesn't mean this will turn into a far better George Romero zombie film). When Jason violently (acting classes: $50.00) insists the doctor is up to something, she becomes convinced that he has lost his mind ("Hey look ma, I can play nutty!") and he is sent to the ship's infirmary, which looks suspiciously like a place where genetically alerted spiders are created. As the doctor administers Jason an unknown shot, he sees a cheaply created two foot CGI spider split through the chest of another woman (not as bad as child birth, but it still sucks) in the lab...and don't you think sentences that drop off are really dramatic?
I will risk all credibility as a film reviewer by admitting I was excited at the prospect of seeing Spiders II: Breeding Ground. I enjoyed the original Spiders campy set-up, cheesy effects, and goofy performances so much that I really wanted to see the second film. After watching the sequels Piranha II: The Spawning and Python II, I should have known better: Spiders II is a rather boring, lifeless film that captures none of the original's accidental charm. While it's always a pleasure to see the lumbering presence of Richard Moll (House, Bull from TV's Night Court) on screen, he just can't overcome the bad story, bad dialogue, and bad effects. Spiders II seems to cobble together various elements of other movies, which makes it feel like a combination of Virus, Eight Legged Freaks, and Ghost Ship. All of those movies are far better than this one. I don't think anyone will be surprised when I say that the acting borders on amateurish and the effects appear to have been created on an iMac by a 15-year old geek. If that wasn't bad enough, there's even a shot of a spider walking on a miniature model of one of the sets! Didn't that effect go out of style after the 1950s classic Tarantula? Greg Cromer and Stephanie Niznik are bland as the lead couple who spend most of the film shouting at each other to get out of the way as they dodge the various eight-legged carnivores. There are supporting characters, but who cares? They were hired on to become spider food, and they do their job accordingly. Horror fans will be happy to hear that there are some gross effects in the mix (I especially found a scene where a spider lays her egg in a man's chest yucky), but they don't make the film rise above its mediocrity. I don't want to give the impression that Spiders II is the worst B-movie ever made (no, that award goes to my favorite bastard child Battlefield Earth), but it's also by far from good. For hardcore arachnophobia fans only.
Spiders II: Breeding Ground is presented in a fine looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. For a film of such a considerably small budget, this transfer appears to be in very good shape. Though there are a few imperfections in the image (night scenes seem especially dark with some grain in the image), overall fans will be happy at the way this disc looks. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. Though this track isn't overly bombastic, there are some nice effects and surround sounds to be found in the mix. All aspects of the track are free of any excessive hiss, distortion, or cob webs. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles.
Fittingly, Spiders II: Breeding Ground is void of almost all substantial extra features. The only supplements available on this disc are three trailers for the Lions Gate DVDs Crocodile 2 (another cruddy sequel), the Bill Paxton horror film Frailty, and Spiders II (with terrible voiceover work by the narrator).
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailers