Starring: David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer, Scott Terra, Scarlett Johansson Director: Ellory Elkayem Category: IIB Producer Dean Devlin has his touch all over Eight Legged Freaks. And if you've sat through Independence Day (1996) and Godzilla (1998), you'll know what to expect - plenty of action, but not much depth. Then again, if you've seen the posters around town - those with the monster spiders - you won't be buying your ticket expecting much else, will you? Devlin and first-time director Ellory Elkayem have drawn on 1950s-style shockers, where monsters seemed to constantly terrorise the innocent. Here it is a town called Prosperity which, of course, is anything but. The townsfolk have fallen on hard times, and are looking to the recently returned Chris McCormack (David Arquette) to set things straight by reopening the local gold mine. But things start to go horribly wrong when a container of toxic material finds its way into the local river - and into the mouths of the inhabitants of the town's exotic spider farm. Suddenly, everyone's pets go missing and it's not long before the beady eyes of these mutant 'freaks' turn to the human population. Standing in their way is heroic local sheriff Sam Parker (Kari Wuhrer), a single mum who just happens to be the ex-lover of our man Chris. Together with her smarter-than-smart kid Mike (Scott Terra) and feisty daughter Ashley (Scarlett Johansson), they set about saving the town from doom. The usual allowance of chase scenes and bloody battles with the nasties ensues. Arquette draws on his almost-patented stoned-slacker charm and spends most of the film looking half-bemused. With him, it's always like he's up there acting, but he's not really sure why. The gargantuan arachnids are initially impressive - especially when crawling about in the shadows - but they seem to have one or two tricks which are replayed time and time again. And it's here that the film falls down. Yes, it is mindlessly amusing for the first hour or so. But your interest begins to wane about the time the townspeople head for shelter in the local shopping mall. Johansson, brilliant in Ghost World, which recently screened here, is again the star of the show. You can't help thinking, however, that she was wasting her time. Okay, there are moments of out and out fun, but it will leave you feeling decidedly undernourished. Eight Legged Freaks opens today.