Shout Factory: Itsy Bitsy (2019) - Reviewed

Itsy Bitsy hearkens back to the golden age of monster movies and creature features.  This flick delivers gross outs, jump scares, and giant spiders that will give you the creeps.  The problem with this movie is that while the effects are great, there are buried in too many scenes of family melodrama.  

The plot follows nurse, Kara (played by Elizabeth Roberts) and her kids, Jesse (Arman Darbo) and Cambria (Chloe Perrin) as they move into an old creepy house and Kara begins caring for the elderly artifact collector, Walter (Bruce Davison).  Eventually, it comes to light that an artifact that Walter has in his home is cursed and it contains a giant spider entity that has begun laying eggs around the house, biting people and just generally being disgusting .

Meanwhile, as if this creepy spider going around and threatening her and her children isn’t enough, Kara is also dealing with a failing career, being a single parent to two children, all while she is grieving the loss of a third child in a car accident and battling addiction.  Every moment seems to be triggering on something for poor Kara, and she is emotionally hanging on by a thread.  Kara must find her strength to save both her children and herself from a traumatic past, but also giant spiders hellbent on killing every human it can sink its fangs into. 

It comes as no surprise that the director of this movie, Micah Gallo,  got his start in film by working on visual effects.  The perfectly blended CGI and practical visual effects were the highlight and strength of this film.  The giant spiders are incredibly lifelike and terrifying.  Anyone who has even a sliver of arachnophobia will be crawling out of their skin with terror.  If you’re someone like myself, who loves our arachnid friends, don’t worry; there’s a lot of strange spider fluids, and egg sacks, and spider bites to give you all sorts of grossed out and uncomfortable feelings.  

Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the original Pet Semetary will be thrilled to see Denise Crosby pop up as Sheriff Jane Dunne, but then be disappointed at how little screen time she is given.  Crosby is charming as the Sheriff, but she doesn’t have much to do, other than give a few speeches. 

Itsy Bitsy has a slow buildup, with a lot of melodrama, and up until the final act of the film, the monster aspect is an afterthought to the family drama happening between Kara and her kids. In the final act, the action does pick up, and the giant spider scenes are great.  The problem isn’t the element of family drama itself, but the balance of it.  This movie could have been amazing had the drama been an afterthought to the giant spider and not the other way around, and it would have been great to see Denise Crosby shoot a gun as the Sheriff. 

--Mara Powell