horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: June 14th, 2014 Movie – Camel Spiders

camel spiders

I have noticed a pretty specific trend with some of my movies. Any time I see Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski paired up on a movie, I know that I am going to enjoy it. With that being said, let’s take a look at the movie I have on tap right now. In the late 2000’s/early 2010’s, a picture was being circulated around the internet of 2 camel spiders in Iraq and a story of them attacking soldiers. Of course the story ended up being false but the idea was definitely put out there to make a movie about these creatures. When I heard that Roger Corman was producing a movie featuring these animals, I just knew that I was going to have to buy Camel Spiders as soon as it was available to purchase. Now let’s see if my theory regarding this director/producer team still holds true.

The plot: In Afghanistan, U.S. forces led by Captain Mike Sturges are pinned down by Taliban forces. As the battle continues, the Taliban forces are suddenly attacked by large camel spiders and dragged off into the desert and caves. Not sure why the Taliban stopped firing, Sturges tells some of his men to investigate while calling on air support to stand by. Sturges’ receives medical treatment for his wounded leg, then heads over to where the men are and as the local doctor turns the body of one of the Taliban over, he notices the wounds on the man’s face and tells Sturges that he was killed by a “bish-bish”, the local’s name for the camel spiders. Not wanting to risk his men being killed, Sturges calls off searching for any more Taliban and they prepare to load their dead teammate into a coffin, not realizing that two camel spiders had crawled into the body bag before it was closed. Some time later, Sturges is riding in an Army truck being driven by Sergeant Kelly Underwood, taking some weapons and the dead soldier’s remains to a nearby base in Arizona, and as they are talking, they are t-boned by a man who was running from Sheriff Ken Beaumont. The impact sends the casket flying out the back of the truck and breaks it open and as Beaumont checks on the two soldiers, the camel spiders quickly scurry off into the desert. Beaumont offers Sturges and Underwood a lift to the nearby motel but when Sturges says they have to stay by the truck, Beaumont points out their damaged engine but tells them if their truck still runs, he will give them an escort. Elsewhere, 4 college kids head out in the desert to go hiking but when one of them, Trent, pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels and starts drinking, then passes it to his friend, Trent’s girlfriend Erin gets pissed off and decides to leave, unaware that a camel spider had crawled into her car through the open sun roof. After Erin leaves, Trent is killed by a group of camel spiders while he is taking a leak, and the other two kids are killed shortly afterwards. At the rest stop, Sturges tells Underwood that they have been ordered to stay with the truck until they can get another vehicle out to them in the morning and Sturges talks to Beaumont about finding some food and lodgings and the sheriff takes him out to get some food, leaving Underwood to watch the truck. Meanwhile, Erin arrives at a gas station/bait shop and goes inside to pay for some gas but when she finds the place seemingly empty, she looks around and finds the owner and his wife webbed up to the wall as camel spiders start attacking them, then Erin. Elsewhere, Professor Essex is leading some of his class (Ashley, Will, Tracy, Carl, and Eddie) into the woods to find and study fossils when he spots a camel spider near the river. Surprised to see one out of it’s native habitat, Essex goes to get a closer look and ends up being killed by it. The students all run away, splitting up in different directions, and Eddie ends up being killed. Back in town, Sturges and Beaumont arrive at a diner and after being greeted by the owners, Reba and Joe, they sit down to eat. Also at the diner are Brad and Sharon Mullins and their daughter Hayley, McNeil and Cain, two businessmen that are looking to develop the area, and Jeff and his friend, two pacifists that are annoyed to see the waitress Patty flirting with Sturges. Meanwhile, Ashley and Will manage to find a run down house in the middle of the woods and as Will tries to get the door open, Ashley sees Tracy and Carl coming out of the woods and she calls out to the. When they manage to get inside, Will looks up the spider from a picture he took and they try to figure out what they should do and Ashley says they should barricade the house for now. Back at the diner, one of the cooks, Tommy, is taking out some trash when he is attacked by a camel spider. As everyone in the diner hears his screams, Joe goes out with a rifle and attempts to shoot the spider but it is too fast and he quickly ducks back inside and slams the door shut. As the diner patrons notice what is going on, some of them try to run for it but Sturges tells them to shut the door, then calls Underwood and tells her to bring the truck to the diner. Telling everyone he has a truck coming and they will get out of there, Sturges, Beaumont, and the diner’s owners begin shooting the spiders when they make it inside the diner. When Underwood arrives, Sturges tells everyone to get onto the truck and they all head out there but Cain is killed during the escape. Back at the house, Ashley finds several knives to arm themselves with while Tracy worries that nobody will be able to help them but Ashley assures her that someone will come looking for them when they don’t return to school. Meanwhile, Will is exploring the basement to make sure no spiders are there but after being scared by Carl, they both head back upstairs, unaware that some spiders are making their way inside the basement. Back on the highway, Underwood’s truck is making some bad noises and Beaumont worries that it won’t be able to go much further while Jeff blames Sturges for his friend’s death and the spiders’ being there. As they discuss where they should go, Cain suggests a jisning plant that McNeil owns and they head there and once they get there, they try to figure out what they should do and Sturges says their best bet is to wait until help arrives, then leaves Beaumont to keep an eye on everyone while he and Underwood go secure the area. Back at the house, Ashley, Will, Carl, and Tracy are sitting in one of the rooms wondering what they should do when Ashley hears something coming from the air duct. She goes to check but finds nothing there and when she returns, Carl and Tracy reveal that they’re engaged and Ashley and Will congratulate them. In the morning, Beaumont goes out on the catwalk to look around and spots a truck nearby but as he turns to go back inside, he is attacked by some camel spiders and begins firing at them. Hearing the shots, Sturges, Joe, and Reba go out to check on him and find him barely alive, and Beaumont tells them about the truck before he dies. Meanwhile, Ashley, Will, and Tracy are woken up by a noise and they don’t see Carl around. Will goes to investigate and finds the camel spiders have broken into the house and killed Carl. He tells the others, causing Tracy to start freaking out, and they find their way blocked out the front so they escape out the back yard. Elsewhere, Two soldiers are driving a replacement truck to rendezvous with Sturges and Underwood, driving past the diner on the way to the rest stop. Sturges decides to make a break for the truck and Cain leads him and Underwood to a tunnel that will lead them close to where the truck is. The two soldiers make their way through the tunnel but when Sturges sees several spiders making their way towards them, he begins shooting at them before meeting back with Underwood and deciding to head back up. Inside the plant, everyone hears the gunfire and Brad and Cain decide to go help but as they get to the tunnel, Sturges and Underwood emerge, just as more spiders show up and they all quickly head back upstairs. At the rest stop, the two soldiers grow concerned as there is nobody there, including staff, and they decide to go looking for Sturges and Underwood. Meanwhile, Will, Ashley, and Tracy manage to make it back to there car but when it won’t start, Will checks the engine only to be attacked by a spider that was inside. Back at the plant, Sturges, Underwood, Brad, and Cain make it back to the others and they decide to come up with a new plan. Realizing their only option is to go across land to the truck, Sturges has Joe head up top with his rifle to keep a lookout, Sturges asks for volunteers to go with them. Brad, Jeff, and Reba volunteer and they head out, shooting their way past the spiders until the reach the truck. Sturges hotwires the truck and drives off, with everyone piled into the truck bed and firing at the spiders. When they reach the plant, they continue shooting and manage to wipe out all the spiders they see but want to make sure before bringing anyone else down. Inside, Joe tells everyone to wait until Sturges tells them to head down but McNeil rushes outside, demanding to be rescues, and ends up being killed by some more spiders. As Joe organizes the others to head down, they realize that Hayley isn’t there, as she had snuck out after McNeil left to go find her dad and Sharon wants to go after her but Joe tells her to stay back and he will go after her. Sturges tries radioing Joe to find out what the hold up is and Cain tells him about Hayley going missing. Matt wants to go in to find her and as Sturges tries to get him to stay back and wait, Underwood rushes in to find her, with Sturges following after her. Inside, Joe saves Hayley, who is surrounded by camel spiders, but is killed in the process and as the spiders move towards Hayley, Underwood shows up and rescues her, heading into an office in the back of the floor. Cain, Patty, and Sharon head outside and Cain is killed but Patty and Sharon manage to make it outside to the others. Underwood and Hayley find themselves attacked by more spiders and Underwood manages to kill the spiders that get inside, just as Sturges gets there and escorts them outside. As Sturges, Underwood, and Hayley make it outside, the others provide cover fire for them to reach the truck. Sturges notices some fighter jets heading towards the plant and tells everyone to get into the truck and they quickly drive away as the jets bomb the plant, killing the camel spiders that are there. Later, Sturges is coordinating clean up efforts with local police and army forces and afterwards, he heads over to Underwood, where they discuss grabbing some beers. Elsewhere, at a drive-in theater, a large swarm of spiders is shown to have killed everyone at the theater.

Not quite what I was expecting but this was a pretty entertaining movie none the less. The acting was pretty good, with Brian Krause (Sturges) and C. Thomas Howell (Beaumont) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was pretty interesting, but it honestly reminded me too much of Arachnophobia as far as explaining how the camel spiders got to the U.S. However, unlike Arachnophobia, this movie doesn’t explain how so many camel spiders suddenly appear in the area. I mean, you see two spiders enter the body bag and when the coffin breaks open, you see three escape. So how did the hundred some odd camel spiders suddenly start attacking the desert town. Even if you were to argue that one of them had been close to laying eggs, that doesn’t explain how they suddenly hatched and grew to full size in the course of one day. The special effects with the camel spider’s design were pretty good but some of the blue screen/cgi with them interacting with the human victims left a little to be desired. Still, this was some cheesy B-movie fun that, aside from my one complaint, I found to be fun to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5