James Wan Will Make Spiders Scary Again

Arachnophobia

The director behind ‘Saw’ and ‘Insidious’ is producing an ‘Arachnophobia’ remake.

There’s nothing like coming face-to-face with a common — and probably harmless — spider in the bathtub to remind you of your own doomed mortality. Whenever I’m soaking in my bubbles and one of the creepy crawlies is venturing across the neighboring wall, minding its own business (or plotting my demise), an uncomfortable sensation fills my body and a shiver runs down my spine. Then I start making peace with a god I don’t believe in, just in case I meet Him (or Her) shortly.

Being confronted by spiders is never a positive experience for me. If I ever encountered the deadly variety — or even the non-threatening ones that are still pretty big and hairy — I’d scream like a baby, run away to safer pastures, and never return. Like many people, I associate spiders with death and pure evil, which is why I’m excited for the upcoming Arachnophobia remake.

That’s right, the 1990 cult horror-comedy favorite is next to get the upgrade treatment. According to Deadline, James Wan’s Atomic Monster and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment are producing a redo of the movie, which is about an army of deadly Venezuelan arachnids terrorizing a small American town. No writers, director, or actors are attached to the project yet.

Our friends over at Gizmodo might not be in favor of an Arachnophobia remake, but the truth is that an Arachnophobia redo is a great idea because spiders will always be effective foes in horror fare. Given that arachnophobia is one of the 10 most common phobias in the world today, any movie featuring rampaging spiders — or other arachnids, for that matter — has the potential to tap into a real panic that affects millions of people. That’s the type of horror that really gets under the skin.

That said, others will probably get a more pleasurable thrill out of seeing cinematic spider swarms again. I often forget that there are people in this world who love spiders and even keep them as pets. If that’s the case, this will be a warm hug of a movie that appeals to their appreciation of evil in its purest form.

Movies featuring spiders causing chaos are few and far between. Eight-Legged Freaks and Big Ass Spider, released in 2002 and 2013 respectively, are the most notable entries in the arachnid attack subgenre from this century. However, those flicks focus on gigantic spiders that have more in common with kaiju than they do your everyday tarantula. They are tremendously enjoyable in their own right, but their over-the-top style is too outlandish to take them seriously as representations of spider danger in the truest sense. We need another spider tale that does for arachnids what Jaws did for sharks.

There’s a niche in the market right now for a grounded spider invasion opus that reminds us of just how petrifying these bastards truly are. Mainstream nature attack movies are popular right now, but they’ve been prioritizing sea creatures. The Shallows and 47 Meters Down made sharks scary again, and with The Meg on the horizon the future of ocean-based terror is covered. Arachnophobia can provide a similar type of thrill to those movies, albeit set on land — and in people’s homes. Sharks can’t crawl into neighborhood houses… but spiders can.

The original Arachnophobia, which Spielberg and Amblin also produced, is a perfect balance of self-aware B-movie and unnerving horror yarn. Whether the new movie adopts a like-minded approach remains to be seen, but I hope it bears some fangs, hisses, and spits poison all over the place.

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