The Spider (2023)

Andy Chen’s “The Spider” could be appreciated as a multiverse interpretation where the story of Spider-Man is not about a superhero but a body horror tragedy. “The Spider” is basically “Spider-Man” as told by David Cronenberg and takes all the basics of Peter Parker’s tale and transforms it in to a gruesome genre hybrid. With the excellent prosthetics and make up from Alen Stubbs, he and Chandler Riggs help to realize a slick and entertaining take on Spider-Man that is pitch black in tone.

What’s more is there’s the implication that nothing in this Marvel verse has resulted in the fantasy superhero tales we’ve grown up with. Everything has a terrible and blood soaked result. Star Chandler Riggs is very good in the role of Peter Parker, the high school student bitten by an experimental spider. After his fated turn of events, he begins to experience a metamorphosis that is less than spectacular. Although he can crawl on walls and jump high ledges, he also begins to lose body parts, spew from various orifices and even has an insatiable hunger he can’t quite put his finger on.

“The Spider” is a fun and sick twisted take on the Spider-Man lore with its tongue planted firmly in cheek. There are a lot of allusions to this universe included in the nine minutes with a peek at this universe’s J. Jonah, and even Gwen Stacy. Thankfully “The Spider” doesn’t skimp on the pay off with wonderful looks at the effects, much of which look like excellent combinations of traditional make up and some well placed digital enhancements.

“The Spider” is a fun and grotesque fan film in the vein of the Cronenberg’s “The Fly” and I had a good time with it. It’s short and sweet, and I hope we can see more from director Andy Chen very soon.