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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.


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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: The spider does this to Brant and some others in order to supply food to its newly-hatching offspring.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Averted, in that the critter is explicitly described as being a cobbled-together hybrid thing which used extraterrestrial DNA.
    • Played straight with many people referring to animals as "poisonous" when they really mean "venomous".Distinction 
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  • Bait-and-Switch: After Mrs. Jefferson agitates the Brown Recluse into biting Alex, we're treated to a shot of a wrapped up body being rolled to the morgue, before the shot stops at the room where Alex is being examined.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Go read the title again.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov'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.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Evidently only has one cat, but still, she is the reason Alex ends up at the hospital.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Alex really wants some female companionship. Who isn't Mrs. Jefferson.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Alex is repeately brushed off regarding the titular spider despite being an expert in their behavior. He finally gets taken seriously when Major Tanner takes the fact that he could predict where the spider would go as easily as their trackers as evidence that Alex really can walk the walk.
  • Eccentric Exterminator: Mostly averted by Alex, though he has one or two quirks.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Alex is introduced clearing a rodent trap for an elderly lady on his day off, and accepting a fruitcake as payment. Shortly after he's shown trying and failing to flirt with the nurse treating his brown recluse bite.
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes / Lethal Chef: Alex very wisely has not eaten any of Mrs. Jefferson's offerings of gratitude, leaving them in a pile on the floor of his truck. At least with the latest one she took the stems off the cherries!
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The villain of the film quickly proves to be... a big-ass spider!!
  • Get a Room!: Jose's comment to Alex and Brant at the end of the film.
  • Giant Equals Invincible / Immune to Bullets / Nigh-Invulnerability: Guess who, once it gets big enough. Some of its newly-hatched offspring do prove to be susceptible to gunfire.
  • Giant Spider: The Movie.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Discussed but ultimately subverted. Brant is asked if she's willing to take out the spider if she gets the chance even if she's caught in the blast, and she affirms that she is. Later, she expresses a willingness to detonate those same explosives to kill it even if a less willing Alex is caught in the blast, but Jose intervenes and the two of them escape. Likely for the better, as odds are the explosion wouldn't have actually killed it anyway, making it a Senseless Sacrifice if she'd gone through with it.
  • 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 climbing the Los Angeles city hall, then cuts back to twelve hours earlier.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Spider-vision is deployed a couple of times.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When Major Tanner finally realizes Alex knows his stuff when it comes to spiders and asks him where the spider will likely go to lay her eggs, Alex describes how she'll likely try to find the most isolated spot she can. Cue a news report of the spider laying her eggs at Los Angeles City Hall.
  • Jumped at the Call: Jose cheerfully springs into action when "assigned" to work with Alex.
  • Kaiju: At its max size, the creature is this.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Alex and Brant go through a verbal version of this.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Once again, 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.
  • Title Drop: A handful of characters call the titular spider a big-ass spider word-for-word.
  • 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.


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