(1990)

Critic Reviews

67

Metascore

Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
83
Arachnophobia is a skin-crawling horror film that never loses its cheeky, throwaway edge.
80
An exciting and thoroughly enjoyable, experience.
80
It pushes the audience's buttons with Pavlovian finesse, manufacturing industrial-strength adrenaline. First-time director Frank Marshall has long been Steven Spielberg's producer, and he's learned the master's lessons well.
75
This is the kind of movie where you squirm out of enjoyment, not terror, and it's probably going to be popular with younger audiences - it doesn't pound you over the head with violence. Like the spider itself, it has a certain respect for structure.
70
Time Out
Frank Marshall has crammed the screen with plenty of knee-jerk thrills interlaced with black humour. Designed to reduce the audience to a squirming mass, the film yields plenty of grisly pleasures.
63
Slant Magazine
Arachnophobia isn’t great filmmaking, appearing to be kept in check by vaguely resembling Spielbergian entertainment without rising to its altitudes. But it’s a pleasant, acutely nostalgic elicitation of the VHS era and the woozy, preadolescent excitement of awaiting the next cranked-out Spielberg Xerox picture.
60
The specifics of the spider rampage have been very enjoyably executed by Mr. Marshall and particularly well played by Mr. Daniels, whose dryly self-deprecating manner and underlying decency make him an irresistible hero. Arachnophobia falters only when it becomes too broad, as in a dopey nod to Psycho that captures none of Hitchcock's formal elegance, and in various minor characters who serve as comic grotesques, like the town's potato-chip-munching mortician.
60
Washington Post
It's a one-joke movie, a funhouse ride, the cinematic equivalent of having a rubber spider thrown in your lap. But it doesn't matter if you reject the wispy script or the plot, which has as much substance as a spider's web; you'll jump every time.
50
It may be a seamless tongue-in-cheek thriller, but it lacks the superbly developed psychological tension of its illustrious predecessors. Director Marshall's film is nothing more than a diversion, and if you personally have no fear of spiders, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
50
This is Disney's idea of a fright fest -- about as threatening as Jaws with Flipper in the title role.

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