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Investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of farm animals, vet Rack Hansen discovers that his town lies in the path of hoards of migrating tarantulas. Before he can take action, the streets are overrun by killer spiders, trapping a small group of towns folk in a remote hotel. Written by
Ross Horsley <email@example.com>
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Captain Kirk, the Centrefold & the Marlboro Man vs the Spiders
A rural town is overwhelmed by a plague of deadly tarantulas whose toxicity and ferociousness have been engorged by a cocktail of crop accelerants in another nature turns feral episode. All the usual motifs and roadblocks are wheeled out with little in the way of innovation or originality in the formula applied. Despite the predictable treatment, Shatner is such an undeniably charismatic and affable leading man, and his quirky characterization and apparent chemistry with both the female leads (principally Bolling but also, perhaps understandably, real-life wife Lafferty) makes it hard not to forgive the makers of this shameless rip-off. But while not quite as tongue-in-cheek as his long-time small screen persona, Shatner does offer a few well timed laughs that lighten up proceedings, just when things seem to be getting a bit heavy.
An equally likable supporting cast of relaxed characters (notably MacLean and Dressler) band together to combat the nemesis at the local bed and breakfast, but it seems the end is nigh for mankind. Director Cardos handles the subject matter well, bracing the audience for mild shocks and timing the suspense with aplomb.
The dialogue incorporates the usual scientific gabble, with the lusty entomologist Bolling (momentarily disrobed, but alas, just a feint glimpse) hypothesizing on the cause of cattle deaths from apparent spider bites, and there's plenty of cheerful banter (some of which sounds improvised) between her and Shatner's rugged, gregarious vet in between grim discoveries. The ending might seem like the easy way out, avoiding the necessary plot complexities to manufacture a tidy outcome, and the country-western music a tad unfitting, still in all, it's agreeably light and entertaining, and distinguished by a likable cast of laid back larrikins.
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