How does a dark comedy thriller sound to you? How do you feel about spiders? Do you have a fear originating in childhood that shall be challenged over the course of two hours? Arachnophobia (1990) just might be the movie for you.
(Harley Jane Kozak as Molly Jennings, left, and Jeff Daniels as Ross Jennings in the movie Arachnophobia).
The movie Arachnophobia starts onsite in a remote Venezuelan village where we meet a nature photographer from Canaima, California. Canaima National Park is an actual park roughly in the center of the Venezuela, and serves as the location where we are introduced to the nature photographer, and Dr. James Atherton, both of whom are central to this tongue-in-cheek homage to the film Jaws (1975). Steven Spielberg, who gained acclaim for his work with Jaws, was an executive producer for Arachnophobia.
(Roy Brocksmith as Irv Kendall, left, Henry Jones as Dr. Sam Metcalf, center, and Stuart Pankin as Sheriff Parsons in the movie Arachnophobia).
Jeff Daniels as Ross Jennings and Harley Jane Kozak as Molly Jennings move to the small town of Canaima, California from San Francisco aiming to settle down to a more rural pace of life. Ross is the Yale trained doctor due to take over the practice of retiring doctor Dr. Sam Metcalf, as portrayed by Henry Jones. Upon the doctors meeting after the Jennings moved, Metcalf announces his desire to continue as town doctor. One defiant and healthy older lady in the town accepts Ross Jennings as her doctor and dies shortly after examination. The doctors feud on doing an autopsy. Stuart Pankin plays Sheriff Parsons of Canaima, and is joined by Irv Kendall as portrayed by Roy Brocksmith, as small town people with an avid distrust for anybody from outside small town Canaima.
(Julian Sands as Dr. James Atherton in the movie Arachnophobia).
Dr. James Atherton, as portrayed by Julian Sands, rejoins the story after the initial scenes from Venezuela. Townspeople from Canaima, California had been dying, Ross Jennings started to gain traction in his belief that a spider was at the center of the spate of deaths in town, and the story moves from one with deaths occurring and little belief for out-of-town experts that were at first viewed as incompetent due to being outsiders. The expertise is slowly revealed that the source of the deaths in town were related to a Venezuelan spider that had hitched a ride back to small town California. In confirming some of that detail, Atherton loses his life in the barn of Dr. Ross Jennings.
(John Goodman as Delbert McClintock in the movie Arachnophobia).
Canaima, California exterminator Delbert McClintock, as portrayed by John Goodman, offers some of the tongue-in-check small town humor that is a hallmark of Arachnophobia. The movie does work to a conclusion that offers a combination of humor, including McClintock, and a thriller quality including Ross Jennings. These two echo aspects of the narrative style of the movie Jaws, though obviously this film inserts spiders, also loosely known as arachnids, through the film. For the dark comedy, entertainment value, and interspersed off screen deaths, this movie scales toward family friendly. That is, if Jaws would be appropriate for your family, so would Arachnophobia. I rate Arachnophobia at 3.5-stars on a scale of one-to-five stars.
Matt – Wednesday, June 5, 2019