Dr Ross Jennings (Daniels), his wife (Kozak) and their two children uproot from the urban sprawl to a picturesque Californian small town. But the locals are distrustful of the city slickers - feelings compounded when the new doctor's patients start dropping dead. A poisonous spider, accidentally imported from the Venezuelan rain forests, has also taken up residence, and its deadly offspring are making house calls outside surgery hours. For his directorial debut, long-time Spielberg producer Frank Marshall has crammed the screen with plenty of knee-jerk thrills interlaced with black humour. Subtlety of characterisation is secondary to the antics of the 'little vampires', with victims conveniently earmarked (gluttons, a jock and an unshaven whinger receive painful lessons in social rejection), and John Goodman easily upstaging his co-stars in a glorious appearance as a bull-headed pest controller. Designed to reduce the audience to a squirming mass, the film yields plenty of grisly pleasures.
Cast and crew
Don Jakoby, Wesley Strick
Jeff Daniels Mark L. Taylor Julian Sands John Goodman Stuart Pankin Harley Jane Kozak Brian McNamara