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Spiders II: Breeding Ground

My Assistant Promotions Ninja (AssPN?) and I found ourselves with some time on our hands and a movie to watch a Monday or two ago, so we did. Let me introduce to you Spiders II: Breeding Ground. As far as I can tell, the only commonality Spiders II has with Spiders is that there are spiders. I looked through iMDB to see if maybe one of the characters survived through to the sequel but other than the Photoshopping of Richard Moll's head onto the cover for the first movie, there's nothing remotely connecting Spiders the second to Spiders the first.

Except, you know...spiders.

Spiders II is about mad doctor Grbac who is doing genetic experiments with spider DNA and human DNA in order to help strengthen the human genome. His rationale is that spiders don't get viruses or diseases so if he can find a way to use their DNA with human DNA he might find a way to cure all sorts of nasty human aliments. But first he has to do trials and experiments in his lab on a big cargo ship pirating the high seas and preying on isolated boats.

To be fair, he is kinda mad and the FDA usually doesn't agree to go to the human phase of testing when that testing involves impregnating the host with a baby spider egg which will, at some point later, burst spectacularly out of said host a la Alien. So secret cruising pirate cargo boat lab it is.

Also on the (badly CGIed) high seas are Alexandra (Alex) and Jason on their 50ish foot sail boat. They come across the charred remains of a boat previously pirated by the spider lab ship and check it out. Unfortunately, a horribly CGIed squall PhotoShops in and they have to get back to their own boat and batten down the hatches. They do but the effects are so bad the boat sinks anyway like a poorly done kids puppet show. Alex and Jason flounder around until they are rescued by a big cargo ship cruising the ocean.

Both shipwreckees are banged up but fortunately, as the Captain explains, they have a doctor on this run who can patch them up. The doc gives the couple a once over and pokes Jason with some antibiotics for a gash he picked up in the accident. Over the next day or so, Jason isn't getting much better despite the several shots of antibiotics. He's feverish and weak, but also noticing odd little inconsistencies. Like the fact that the ship is running high in the water like it's not carrying cargo and that the radio seems to have a carrier signal despite it being "out of repair". One night, after a particularly vivid dream of covert shipboard operating theaters and terrible (spidery) things, Jason skulks off to find a freezer full of bodies. He wants to show Alex, but she is getting worried and fed up with his hallucinations and paranoid talk. She agrees to come with him but on the condition that if they get to the freezer and it isn't full of people, he will quit with the crazy talk. They sneak out to the freezer, open the door and find...


Jason is confused, Alex tells the doctor that she thinks her husband has become delusional. Later that day, Jason has a "relapse" and is taken to an isolation area of the ship for "treatment". Alex is told that she can't see her husband because the sight of her will agitate him and cause his condition to worsen (and also, he is in spider gestation phase II). This finally pings Alex's "somethings not right" meter so she decks the Captain and goes off hunting for her husband. She avoids the crew and comes across the spider lab, but not before finding the breaker room and cutting all the power to the ship. The incubator beds pop open and on cue, one of the hosts explodes a spider baby into the world. It's pretty cute. The spider, not the corpse.

The rest of the spiders, released from their cages, wreak havoc on the ship and crew until Chekhov's lighter and flammable gas storage room come into play. The ship explodes and then quickly sinks in shame at the poor CGI effects. Alex and Jason escape with the antidote, for the good doctor made antidotes for all his test subjects because...plot something something OH LOOK! A huge spider escapes the burning ship and hinders the rescue effort of the Coast Guard! Good thing the Coast Guard carry grenades and that Alex can easily catch a grenade while dangling from a rope ladder AND being yoinked at by a giant-ass spider.

Boom. Bits.

Despite our mockery, Spiders II did some things really well. Alex, our heroine, was sensible and tough and they set up the "Bad things are on this boat" / "delusional things are from your fever" tension really well. And when Alex needed to realize that something hinkey was going on and her husband was right about everything, she does so in a very realistic way and then gets down to the business of rescuing her husband. The other thing they did well (?) is that we never got a good clear shot of the spider puppet...because I think they knew it was ridiculously stupid. Instead, we see odd angles and fast blurry bits of the giant spider and the baby spider bursters are on screen just as long as it took them to to pull the hand puppet below the viewing window of the incubators. The rest of the spiders were CGI and somewhat decently done.

What Spiders II did poorly were water, fire and ship composite effects and for a movie that took place entirely out at sea...yeah.

As my AssPN says, "I'd have Alex on my zombie apocalypse survival team as she's deadly with everything from grenades to harpoons."

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider Watching Ninja