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Arachnophobia

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PG-13
1990

Arachnophobia is a 1990 horror-comedy directed by Frank Marshall and starring Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, and John Goodman. The film follows Dr. Ross Jennings (Daniels), a newly arrived small-town doctor who slowly becomes aware of a deadly spider infestation in his community. As his patients fall ill and die from spider bites, Ross teams up with exterminator Delbert McClintock (Goodman) to confront the killer arachnids and save his family and his town.

The plot of Arachnophobia is straightforward and predictable, but its execution is what makes the film memorable. The movie is at once a classic monster movie and a winking satire of small-town life, with a strong cast of character actors and some genuinely creepy spider moments that will make your skin crawl. Jeff Daniels is an unconventional hero, playing the mild-mannered doctor with a dry wit and a relatable sense of vulnerability. John Goodman, playing against type, steals the show as the brash, larger-than-life exterminator with a Southern drawl and a heart of gold. Julian Sands, as the spider-loving entomologist who unwittingly brings the killer spider to America, delivers a nuanced and sympathetic performance, making his character more than just a caricature.

Arachnophobia works because it successfully balances humor and horror, using the former to defuse and intensify the latter. The movie is at times genuinely funny, with witty dialogue and memorable set-pieces like the scene in which Ross's teenage son is trapped in a barn with hundreds of spiders. But the film never loses sight of its horror movie roots, and the suspense and scares are genuinely effective. Despite the ridiculous premise of killer spiders, the movie manages to be both entertaining and suspenseful, thanks to a tight script by Don Jakoby, Wesley Strick, and Jim and John Thomas, and the expert direction of Frank Marshall, who manages to make even the most mundane locations seem sinister and creepy.

What makes Arachnophobia stand out from other monster movies is its attention to detail and its commitment to scientific accuracy. The movie was praised by entomologists for its painstaking attention to the behavior and appearance of spiders, and the filmmakers went to great lengths to create realistic spider models and animatronics. The spiders in the movie are not just generic monsters, but actual species of spiders, with realistic and accurate behavior patterns. This attention to detail adds an extra layer of realism to the movie, making it even more terrifying to those with arachnophobia.

One of the more interesting aspects of Arachnophobia is its use of the spider as a metaphor. The movie is not just about killer spiders; it's a meditation on fear itself, and the way that fear can infect and consume a community. The spiders in the movie are a physical embodiment of a deeper, more existential fear, one that is more insidious and harder to eradicate than any spider. In this way, the movie is more layered and complex than your average creature feature, and it rewards repeat viewings with its subtle thematic underpinnings.

Arachnophobia was a commercial and critical success upon its release, grossing over $50 million and earning generally positive reviews from critics. Its blend of horror and humor was praised, as was its attention to scientific detail and its commitment to character development. While it may not be the scariest movie in the world, it's a fun and entertaining piece of genre filmmaking that still holds up today. If you're a fan of creature features or horror-comedies, Arachnophobia is a must-watch. Just be prepared to squirm in your seat every time a spider appears on screen.

Arachnophobia is a Comedy, Horror movie released in 1990. It has a runtime of 105 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 67.

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Where can I stream Arachnophobia movie online? Arachnophobia is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Arachnophobia for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.5/10
67/100
Director
Frank Marshall
Stars
Jeff Daniels, John Goodman, Harley Jane Kozak, Julian Sands, Brian McNamara
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