An Average Creature Feature
Arachnophobia is a very common fear; even I tend to stay away from those eight-legged freaks. Ironically, as I’m writing this a spider is crawling in front on me on my wall and setting off my phobia. On the surface, Itsy Bitsy brings us a very generic horror movie revolving around spiders. While the special effects are decent and the acting is far from bad, the movie takes its time getting started and fails to bring the expected tense moments found in these kind of creature features.
The story starts with nurse Kara and her two children, Jesse and Cambria, moving away from New York to start a new nursing job where she intends to care for elderly man Walter. Trying to get a new start after losing her younger son, Kara hopes that the new setting will help with her opioid addiction and bring her family closer together. However, the country is not as peaceful as they’d hoped when they find themselves stalked by a rather big creepy-crawly.
Itsy Bitsy’s pacing is quite slow and it’s a shame too as the movie focuses on one of the most common fears we have but never quite capitalises on this. It feels like it could have done more with that phobia and potentially build on the tension further. Clocking in at 94 minutes, the movie feels a lot longer than this, but for the last 20 minutes where things start heating up.
The editing is solid for an indie movie too and there’s some nice camera shots here that help add some artistic flair. Seeing the spider’s point of view was one such example, with eight-eyes showcased through the use of duplicated blurry images. The sound of the spider rattling around is quite unnerving too and while more could have been done with this, the elements that are here helps build a good level of tension in the movie.
Thanks to a successful Kickstarter, Director Micah Gallo managed to get a bigger budget to develop the visual and audio effects here and he certainly makes the most of this. Using practical effects makes the spider and the webs feel more real, and not seeing the full spider until later in the movie does play on elements of the unknown and makes the film a lot creepier. One scene in particular was quite memorable; we see Cambria, dressed with butterfly wings, caught in the giant spider web and it’s a nice symbolic nod to being spider’s prey, ready to be eaten by the arachnid.
The acting from the main four characters is okay for this sort of film, with the plot concentrating on the past quite a bit to showcase this. While it is interesting to see the various different characters’ back stories, I feel that more time should have been spent focusing on the threat of the spider instead.
Itsy Bitsy is not a bad spider movie but it’s not a particularly great one either. It fails to reach the same creepiness found in movies like Arachnophobia and takes a while to get into the swing of things. However, the welcome practical effects and empathetic characters help but can’t quite save the day for this average creature feature.
Verdict - 5.5/10