A shy, obsessive comic book fan gets injected with an experimental serum of a lab that is studying how to give humans the abilities of spiders. At first he develops minor abilities such as increased strength, which allows him to fight local criminals and bullies, thus living out his dream of being a superhero, and impressing his attractive next-door neighbor. Things start to get more odd when he is able to shoot webs out of his abdomen. Then he loses control over the force with which he applies his increasingly deadly abilities, as well as his judgment to discern between criminals and jokesters. His dream becomes a nightmare when he starts growing large spider body parts, he's in constant pain, and he develops a nearly insatiable hunger. A detective with a traumatized wife begins investigating when bodies covered in cobwebs and spider venom start piling up.
Directed by: Scott Ziehl
. Starring: Dan Aykroyd
, Devon Gummersall
, Amelia Heinle
, Theresa Russell
, Christopher Cousins
, Mario Roccuzzo
, John Cho
, Randall Huber
, Lloyd Lowe Jr.
, Michael Keenan
, Ted Rooney
, Dan Martin
. Music by: David Reynolds
the Spider is set in New York where nice guy Quentin Gemmer (Devon Gummersall) works as a security guard in a science research lab called 'Biochemco', he is an avid comic book reader his favourite strip being the 'Arachnid Avenger' & he has a huge crush on one of his neighbours a student nurse named Stephanie Lewis (Amelia Heinle), I think I would too to be honest. One night while at work some masked men break in & in an ensuing gunfight his partner Nick (Mario Roccuzzo) is shot dead, at the same time he is accidentally injected with an experimental serum... Quentin starts to change, he starts to think he has superpowers like his comic book hero & after he manages to kill the notorious 'Midtown Murderer' (Randall Huber) & discovers he can shoot spider webs from a hole in his chest he is convinced of it (as you would). But Quentin soon begins to realise that his new found powers come at a high price as he continues to change & mutate beyond all recognition as he soon discovers he has other more unwanted spider characteristics, Detective Inspector Jack Grillo (Dan Aykroyd) is in charge of cleaning the mess Quentin leaves behind...
Directed by Scott Ziehl . the Spider was the first of five made for TV films produced by 'Creature Features' & isn't that impressive. The only connection this film shares with the original the Spider (1958) is it's title. The script by Cary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman, Max Enscoe & Annie de Young can easily be split into to distinct sections. The first half of . the Spider is basically a low-rent low-budget Spider-Man (2002), although I'm fully aware this was made before the Hollywood blockbuster it's just the two share remarkable similarities like shooting spider webs from bodily parts, superhuman powers, crime fighting after suffering an injustice, having a crush on a good looking bird but not being able to do anything about it because of what's happening to him & trying to keep his powers a secret &, of course, all the comic book references throughout. Then . the Spider changes films to plagiarise & has a go at The Fly (1986), which was definitely made before this, as Quentin starts to transform & mutate into an insect & developing it's unwanted characteristics, again it bears striking similarities like the tragic relationship between himself & Stephanie which predictably ends in tears, unfortunately director Ziehl isn't a Cronenberg & you just don't care for the character's or what's happening to them, the only thing that really kept me watching . the Spider was to see what Quentin would look like as a human spider mutant thing. I can't believe four people worked on the screenplay as it's rather disjointed, somewhat slow & predictable.
Director Ziehl doesn't really add much to the film in the way he shoots things, there's no real style or imagination about it & is pretty forgettable overall. The film has a strange feel as some of the props used indicate a 40's or 50's period film like the old fashioned camera & Quentin's ancient looking TV set while the cars, clothes & scientific equipment would lead one to believe it's set in modern times, maybe Ziehl couldn't make his mind up. There isn't really any blood or gore to speak of although the special make-up effects on the spider creature are fairly impressive.
Technically . the Spider is bland & forgettable as most of these made-for-TV films are, having said that it's still well made with decent production values, music & photography. The acting is OK but nothing spectacular, Heinle is a very nice looking young lady & Aykroyd just looks embarrassed.
I will stop short of call . the Spider a bad film but at the same time I can't call it a particularly good one either as it steals it's best ideas from other much better films, as I was watching this I got the feeling I'd seen it before. The sort of film that can pass an hour and a half painlessly enough but you will probably have forgotten about it within a week, average at best. In my humble opinion Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature (2001) is by far the best 'Creature Feature' so track that down instead.
Review by Paul Andrews from the Internet Movie Database.