Arachnophobia ★★★★½

Films of this type need a couple of things for them to work.

An unlikely hero
The criminally underused and underrated Jeff Daniels is absolutely fantastic as the family doctor who is terrified of spiders. He has that instant likability factor that is so very important if we are to care for our hero.

A simple plot
This is a creature feature, so we don't have to be all original about it. Big ass spider makes it to small American village and stirs up a storm. Goods guys win, extras die. Period.

The suspense in this film comes from the old Hitchcockian trick of keeping the character on screen unaware of the danger, but showing it to the audience. It is thrilling to watch the characters go about their business, unaware of the creepy crawlies lurking about. What's wonderful here is that they used real spiders (apart from the incredibly fake boss spider that is). No dodgy CGI, just real spiders and a whole lot of patience I guess.

In order for a film like this to work you need to make sure you don't take yourself too seriously. Enter Mr. Goodman. He is hilarious here, completely aware of what his role and function is in this film and he just nails it.

All these elements are done superbly and that makes for a film that for me just doesn't seem to loose any of its entertainment value.

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