Big Ass Spider
is a 2013 horror/comedy directed by Mike Mendez and starring Greg Grunberg, in which Grunberg plays lonely, good-natured Los Angeles
exterminator Alex Mathis. An unfortunate chain of events on Mathis's supposed day off leads to his being at the local hospital when a misdirected secret government experiment gets loose and begins attacking employees and patients, before breaking out into the surrounding area. Along with his self-appointed sidekick, hospital security guard Jose, Alex must now help save the city from a voracious, fast-growing, alien-hybrid spider
This film contains the following tropes:
- Achilles' Heel: See below under You Have to Burn the Web.
- Action Girl: Lieutenant Brant does fairly well in this regard, though unsurprisingly she does eventually turn into the Damsel in Distress.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Alex ends up crawling around in them in the hospital.
- All Webbed Up
- Artistic License - Biology: Averted, in that the critter is explicitly described as being a cobbled-together hybrid thing which used extraterrestrial DNA.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies
- Bribe Backfire: Alex tries to bribe his way out of a speeding ticket, and only avoids being arrested because the cop gets an all-hands emergency call regarding the spider attacking a park.
- The Cameo: Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman turns up as a Dirty Old Man "jogger"/monster victim.
- Chekov's Gun: The fact that the spider's webs prove to be highly flammable.
- Code Name: For no particular reason, Alex uses these while communicating with Jose via walkie-talkie in the hospital.
- Conspicuous CGI: The effects get a bit shaky in places, one example in particular being when Alex's truck is destroyed.
- Crazy Cat Lady / The Load: Evidently only has one cat, but still, she is the reason Alex ends up at the hospital.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The villain of the film quickly proves to be.. a big-ass spider!!
- Giant Spider
- Dogged Nice Guy: Alex really wants some female companionship. Who isn't Mrs. Jefferson.
- Eccentric Exterminator: Mostly averted by Alex, though he has one or two quirks.
- Get a Room!: Jose's comment to Alex and Brant at the end of the film.
- Hollywood Acid: While still small, the spider sprays this a couple of times in people's faces.
- Hollywood Tactics: On display a few times with the government assault team.
- How We Got Here: The film starts with Alex witnessing the fully-grown spider's climbing the Los Angeles city hall, then cuts back to twelve hours earlier.
- Immune to Bullets / Nigh-Invulnerability: Guess who, once it gets big enough. Some its newly-hatched offspring do prove to be susceptible to gunfire.
- Impending Doom P.O.V.: Spider-vision is deployed a couple of times.
- Infant Immortality: Played very straight, at least on-screen.
- Lethal Chef: Alex very wisely has not eaten any of Mrs. Jefferson's fruitcakes. At least this time she took the stems off the cherries!
- Jumped at the Call: Jose cheerfully springs into action when "assigned" to work with Alex.
- Monster Is a Mommy: Brant and other victims are captured alive and left to be eaten by the soon-to-hatch offspring.
- Monumental Damage: The spider of course chooses Los Angeles City Hall as the site to lay its eggs. Plus see Sequel Hook below.
- Mr. Exposition / The Professor: The assault team's pipe-smoking scientific adviser Lucas.
- Not Quite Dead: Was it any surprise at all to anybody that the missile-strike only wounded the spider?
- Reasonable Authority Figure: By the standards of the genre, Major Tanner is downright benevolent, even giving Alex and Jose a chance to save Brant (and some other victims) before the spider and its nest in City Hall get targeted with a missile-strike.
- The harried hospital administrator is something of a jerk, but ultimately qualifies as well, agreeing to clear Alex's bill in exchange for his dealing with the "pest problem".
- Sequel Hook / The Stinger: Tanner has just learned that a giant cockroach is attacking the Statue of Liberty.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Alex and Brant go through a verbal version of this.
- Shout-Out: Numerous examples, including the films Them! and Aliens. (Parts of the spider's body design in particular are a clear homage to the Alien Queen in the latter film.)
- Spiders Are Scary: Could have been an alternate title for the movie.
- Square/Cube Law: Obviously ignored, though it is at least explained how the spider gains so much extra mass so quickly: It eats a lot of people.
- You Have to Burn the Web: In fact, you have to do it while it's still inside the spider's body..