Kate (Elizabeth Roberts), a private nurse, accepts a job to serve as a live-in caretaker for Walter (Bruce Davison), an elderly disabled man. This requires Kate to move her two young kids — 13-year-old Jesse (Arman Darbo) and 8-year-old Cambria (Chloe Perrin) — from the big city out into the middle of the countryside. As if moving isn’t hard enough, the family must also deal with fending off the attack of a dog-sized spider.
The spider came from a large mysterious black stone egg. The egg is the latest addition to Walter’s collection of relics and treasure, most of which he accumulated in his youth when he and his now-deceased wife were a regular pair of Indiana Jones, traveling the world and swiping as many artifacts as humanly possible. The stone egg was given to Walter by Ahkeeba (Treva Etienne) and it’s allegedly a big deal because Walter’s wife died trying to get it.
Ahkeeba’s backstory isn’t entirely clear. He refers to Walter and his wife as family, so it’s possible they adopted him when he was little? We also can’t rule out that they straight-up kidnapped him while they were out stealing shit. Whatever the case may be, Ahkeeba says the stone egg is cursed and after a fight with Walter, he breaks it, unleashing the spider.
As the spider begins to terrorize the family, Kate is struggling to fight an addiction to painkillers caused by a horrific past trauma. These two story elements cause a tonal clash that prevents Micah Gallo’s Itsy Bitsy from becoming anything other than just an ok movie with some decent spider effects.
The title implies a throwback to ’80s creature features that don’t take themselves too seriously. Something silly and fun with plenty of monster munching. The spider suggests that as well because it’s big. And the spider does mostly succeed in that regard. It’s practical and fun. There’s a quality fight between the spider and Kate that gets nice and goopy. That I thoroughly enjoyed.
Unfortunately, Kate’s backstory and the issues her family are trying to deal with are far too serious for the monster movie bits. The film lacks proper balance. It’s almost as if two different movies were forced into one.
There’s also some confusion on how the spider comes to be. The egg is allegedly cursed, but the spider doesn’t come about until the egg is broken. So is the egg just a container? If it were never broken, would there be a spider issue? Based on the information provided on screen, the answer to that would be no. And that’s totally fine, but why tell us the egg is cursed?
Itsy Bitsy has its moments. Particularly if you find spiders to be creepy. I do. Just a day before watching this film I had a legit nightmare that I was being attacked by spiders. It was gross. Sadly, the creepy-crawly spider bits are overshadowed by a story that gets a little clumsy and trips over its own eight legs.
Itsy Bitsy is available now in select theaters, digital and on VOD from Shout! Studios.