Spider in the Attic opens with what is one of the best mad scientist lines I’ve heard in a long time. “Idiots! Why discard credible science because of how unethical the research was?”. Dr. George Zizerman (Chris Cordell, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty) soon finds out as his research comes back to bite him in the ass, among other places.
Jump forward a bit and Linda Buxton (Nicola Wright, Amityville Scarecrow, Witches of Amityville Academy) needs something to boost her ratings before her long running radio show gets the axe. Her daughters Lucy (Sarah Alexandra Marks, Help, Easter Killing) and Belle (Chelsea Greenwood, Dinosaur Hotel) tell her about a house owned by a scientist with a history that includes some unorthodox and controversial experiments.
Director Scott Jeffrey (Cupid, The Mutation) and co-writer Rhys Waterfield (Dragon Fury) have taken the YouTubers looking for a story plot all the way back to its roots in Spider in the Attic. It’s even set in an old English manor house and populated it with several older characters and young adults instead of the usual teens. So far, so good.
Unfortunately after seeing the creature in the prologue it goes into hiding for half an hour or so. It’s a creepy looking thing, the size of a small cat and looking like a cross between a spider and a scorpion. Certainly not something you want to see scuttling across your floor. And that’s just one of the babies. Spider in the Attic’s CGI ranges from pretty good to pretty bad, mostly depending on what else is in the scene with the creature or creatures.
As for the spider chow, I mean human characters, they’re a fairly bland lot. Apart from the Buxtons there’s Daniel (Clint Gordon, The Legend of Jack and Jill, Summoning Bloody Mary) Belle’s boyfriend and the reason she’s pregnant. There’s also Lorena (Danielle Scott, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty), Linda’s producer, and station’s manager Shauna (Kate Sandison, It Came from Below, Bats) who came along to keep an eye on things.
This being a Scott Jeffrey film they get to do as much talking as they do screaming unfortunately. Daniel and Belle squabble over the pregnancy and their relationship. The sisters go on about the direction their lives are taking. Spider in the Attic falls into a pattern, showing us a couple of minutes of spiders, then giving us loads of domestic drama. Even the revelation of just what the creature is, the result of recreating Nazi experiments with alien DNA, is revealed via audio tapes.
The fact that they’re in the house long enough to find those tapes is a testament to their bravery. Or their stupidity, take your pick. When they saw the first of the creatures would have been a good time to make an exit. Or when they found the doctor’s partially eaten remains. But they have to wait until it’s too late and the spiders won’t let them leave.
Granted, Spider in the Attic does get a bit more interesting in the last half hour. The spiders are getting hungry and Belle goes into labour. Something we knew would happen as soon as they introduced a pregnant character. But then, just when it seems like it might redeem itself, it goes out with a weak tease/non-ending.
At best Spider in the Attic is a watchable time waster if you give it some help via the fast forward button. It’s available as a legitimately free watch, so there’s no harm in checking it out if you’re in the mood for giant spiders. Just don’t expect too much.
Spider in the Attic is available on various streaming platforms including Tubi, for those with access to it, and on YouTube.