Movie of the Day

Ice Spiders

Ice Spiders has to be the most mind-boggling movie ever made. Everything about this made-for-TV horror flick is a non sequitur, starting with the huge misnomer of a title. Are they spiders made of ice? Spiders that live in ice? Spiders that weave webs of ice? Actually, none of the above. They are giant spiders that were engineered in a top-secret military compound that just happens to be next to a ski lodge, giving the killer arachnids plenty of victims in the form of skiers and hunters who stalk deer out of season. Perhaps Giant Spiders on Snow didn’t have the right ring to it. The director, Tibor Takács, a Hungarian filmmaker, has carved out a niche for himself in America directing films with titles such as Rats, Mansquito (aka Mosquito Man) and Mega Snake, and Ice Spiders clearly falls into this mold. Takács doesn’t mind moving the confusing plot along with some pretty hackneyed dialogue. When the head arachnologist (played by Vanessa Williams, but, no, not that Vanessa Williams) discovers her research partner cocooned in the thick web of a giant black widow, with only his face exposed, she asks “what happened?” Although the audience has never seen the doomed man before, and has no idea what his relationship is with this female coworker, we are suddenly asked to care about him with a romantic music cue, as he warns his colleague, “get out, she is coming back!” Suddenly the two are revealed to be lovers. “No, I won’t leave, not without you,” says the spider lady. At one minute the movie seems to revel in its complete disregard for logic, as its only reason for being is to serve up yet another shot of a computer-generated giant spider clasping onto a downhill skier. The next moment, the creation of the killer arachnids is linked to a veritable encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, including 9/11, the war in Afganistan, chemically polluted drinking water, and institutional cover-ups in the cutthroat competition for research grants. A washed up one-time Olympic hopeful with the name Dash Dashiell, who has resigned himself to teaching married couples to sky after an accident that tore up his knee, saves the day by fighting the big bugs with his most excellent skiing skills. When he threatens to blow the lid on the whole giant-spiders-engineered-for-biological-warfare conspiracy, a Donald Rumsfeld-esque figure in a cowboy hat arrives in a helicopter to tell him that he just can’t win, and Dash and the spider lady ski off into the sunset.

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