Friday, 13 March 2015

Webs (2003)

If you remember when Richard Grieco was being touted as 'the new Johnny Depp', then you have my condolences.  Because like me, you are old.  If your response to the first sentence was 'who is Richard Grieco?', well, you don't need me to tell you that the whole 'new Johnny Depp' thing didn't play out so well.  Which is why we find him turning up in this SyFy original movie (though it was made back when they still called themselves SciFi).

Grieco plays Dean, the leader of a team of electricians.  The four men have been sent into a derelict building to check some anomalous energy readings.  The building is due for demolition, but the readings might mean that there are people squatting in there.

Instead of people, however, the men find a strange room with what appears to be a miniature nuclear reactor.  They accidentally activate a machine in the room, causing one of the four to disappear through a glowing portal.  Dean and the others follow, discovering themselves in what appears to be a deserted, nighttime version of the city (Chicago) they just left.

It's not as deserted as it appears, however: dangerous human-spider mutants prowl the streets.  They kill one of the four men, but then help arrives: uninfected humans armed with spears and other simple weapons.

It emerges that this is an alternate Earth, where a car-sized spider-queen overran the planet with her mutant offspring.  Now Dean and the others must try to find a way home while simultaneously preventing the spider-queen from following them through.

Like many SyFy/SciFi original movies, Webs suffers from its low budget and cheap production.  The effects are so-so, the lighting is flat and basic, and the number of locations available for use quite limited.  They make some effort to hide this with the set design, but it's not really enough.

What Webs suffers more from, however is a 'shock' ending that makes the eighty preceding minutes a complete waste of time.  Without that, I might have been tempted to give this a qualified recommendation as a better-than-average effort from the SyFy/SciFi gang.  As is though, skip it.

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