A terrifying arachnid nightmare with a surprising amount of heart, Scream Factory’s “Itsy Bitsy” is the modern creature feature we’ve been waiting for.
We are currently living through a horror renaissance. Each and every month we not only have a bevy of horror releases, but fantastic horror releases — many of which are instant classics. We have seen in recent years our generation’s premiere demon possession movie, a dystopian sci-fi horror masterpiece, a terrifying haunted house tale for the modern world and a franchise of low budget slime classics.
Even though we have all of this fantastic horror being released, I’m standing here confused. It seems we have every genre — from folklore horror with the remake of Nosferatu, to body horror with the remake of Rabid, and everything in between — except, where are the creature features? Every month, every fest, every import from overseas, I’m waiting patiently for the next great creature feature.
Finally, I am proud to say the wait is over! It’s here! And it’s called Itsy Bitsy.
The creature feature has been a staple in the horror world since the very early days of horror. From The Beast with a Million Eyes in the 1950s to Bats in the 1990s, horror creators have always been able to work off of the primal fear that all humans have of creeping beasts lurking in the darkness. Sometimes, these creeping beasts aren’t so big.
Sometimes they are creepy crawly bugs that make even the most manly man jump up and shriek when they see one of the ugly bastards sneaking up on him in the shower. Happened this morning, ugly little hairy thing.
Itsy Bitsy works on the innermost fears of people who are afraid of spiders.
That a really wordy way of saying arachnophobia. And I am deliberately trying not to say the word because the trailer of this movie will have you thinking of an early 90s classic — but the comparison is an unfair one, because these two movies couldn’t be more different.
Where that other movie was about a guy afraid of spiders moving to a new town, Itsy Bitsy is much darker. It follows the story of a recovering oxycodone addict/single mother of two/hospice nurse who has just moved into a countryside manor, where she is taking care of an old professor who has recently come into contact with an ancient relic.
Now this isn’t some plain old ancient relic. No, that would be too easy. This ancient relic is part of a mythos around a spider goddess who rose from a crack in the earth to devour a small child. And guess what’s inside of the relic? You guessed it… a giant, nasty spider looking to eat a child.
The spider in Itsy Bitsy is not itsy bitsy at all.
This is a big, ugly, creepy thing. And while the trailer shows this thing lurking in the bathtub, it spends most of the movie hiding in the attic, trying to lure the little girl up the ladder to knock her down and have its way with her.
This thing jumps around the room, cornering people, before finally — in a gruesome terrifying fashion — gnashing its fangs into its victims and injecting them with its poison.
From there it just gets worse. Outstanding special effects leave the wound a pulsating mess, that oozes fluids and causes the victim to look like they’re about to turn into a zombie.
While that early 90s spider movie is family friendly, a good first horror film for kids even, this spider movie couldn’t be more different. The spider is actively trying to murder a little girl. It thrashes and claws at a little boy and stabs its fangs right through a little girl’s hand in a very brutal and intense scene that will leave a lasting impact.
Now just because it’s a creature feature doesn’t mean that’s all it is. Itsy Bitsy has tons of heart.
It’s a very real story about a grief-stricken mother trying to do the best for her kids while fighting addiction. It’s a story of the children from a broken home dealing with everyday life, making the most of their tough situation. And it’s a story about the love and bond of a family as they overcome even the toughest of times.
It just so happens that those tough times include fighting a giant spider goddess hellbent on murdering your mother and sister. Because, in spite of all that great story and character development, it’s still first and foremost an exceptional creature feature.
Itsy Bitsy is the modern creature feature us die-hard horror fans have been waiting for.
A fantastic beast who lurks around the house under the cover of atmosphere and tension, a modern story dealing with the realities of addiction, and a fantastic cast combine to make for a film that should surely be put on the must watch list for all fans of classic creature feature horror.
Ten out of Ten, 5 stars, must watch.