Big Ass Spider! and Blood Lake are currently available on instant Netflix.
Big Ass Spider! (2013) – Rated PG-13
“Alex is a lonely bug exterminator whose trying day begins with a bite from a venomous brown recluse spider, and gets worse from there.”
Attention Asylum Pictures! This is how you make a cheap dumb film. Big Ass Spider! is everything you want from an Asylum picture but seldom receive. The effects are cheesy but in a better way than Asylum. The script and story are dumb but in an entertaining, not annoying, fashion.
Unlike Asylum, Big Ass Spider! doesn’t have a token B-lister or two. Instead it stars several genre veterans. Greg Grunberg, Matt Parkman from Heroes, is our lovable schlub of an exterminator. Ray Wise (Robocop, X-Men First Class) is the Major in charge of the military presence. Clare Kramer, who killed as Glory in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is our love interest/military liaison, Lieutenant Karly Brant. Patrick Bauchau (2012, Dead Zone) plays the requisite scientist. None of the actors stand out but all acquit themselves just fine.
This is not to say that this is another Arachnophobia, or even an Eight-Legged Freaks. Both of those are much better films. On the other hand, Big Ass Spider! knows exactly what type of film it is and it delivers that dumb fun.
Blood Lake (2014) – Rated TV-14
“Thousands of starved lamprey eels begin attacking the citizens of a sleepy lake town, leaving the community scrambling to stay alive.”
“A desperate lamprey is a dangerous lamprey.”
Well darn. I thought this one might make a good companion piece to Big Ass Spider! until the fatal phrase, The Asylum Presents, showed up on my screen. It was followed by Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys so clearly they were conflicted about what to name this cinematic abomination.
The actors that they lured in with, presumably, money are Shannon Doherty (Witchslayer Gretl, The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon) and Christopher Lloyd (Dead Before Dawn 3D and Piranha 3DD), both old hats at showing up for these bargain basement movies. On a disconcerting note, Fred Stoller, who plays Rich, appears to be acting in a completely different movie from the rest of the actors.
Fun fact: Zack Ward, who plays Will here, made his acting debut as the bully Scut Farkas in A Christmas Story.
Illogic abounds throughout Blood Lake. Lampreys are starving so they attack and eat people but not so much so they aren’t recognizable. A character is knocked out of a boat by a lamprey. The opening victim has to crawl backwards into a tiny pond to simulate being dragged. The water is clearly not bloody but a bunch of people emerging from it are drenched in blood.
When in doubt, let the cameras linger on young people in bathing suits frolicking on the beach. That will eat up some screen time! At least it distracts the viewer from the horrible special effects. They have had decades now and Asylum still hasn’t made their digital effects look any better.
All I can say in favor of Blood Lake is that it isn’t as bad as many other Asylum offerings.