Film: Big Ass Spider

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 big-ass 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.
  • Action Survivor: Alex, an exterminator, has to save the city from giant monster.
  • 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: The Movie.
  • 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.
  • Kaiju: At its max size, the creature is this.
  • 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.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Inverted by Alex and Jose, who use the elevator time (and music!) to psych themselves up for the coming fight.
  • You Have to Burn the Web: In fact, you have to do it while it's still inside the spider's body..