Critics Consensus

Arachnophobia may not deliver genuine chills, but it's an affectionate, solidly built tribute to Hollywood's classic creature features.



Total Count: 36


Audience Score

User Ratings: 225,676
User image

Arachnophobia Photos

Movie Info

Referring to the fear of spiders, Arachnophobia features a particularly deadly species of spider that manages to make its way from the Venezuelan rain forest to a small California town, thanks to the many oversights of entomologist Julian Sands. Yuppie doctor Jeff Daniels, fed up with the dangers inherent in big-city living, has resettled in this town on the assumption that nothing untoward could ever happen here to himself and his family. Before long, however, Daniels is trying to make sense of a series of sudden deaths-and to figure out why each of the corpses has been drained of blood. The audience, of course, knows that the culprits are those pesky South American spiders, which grow larger with each kill. To make matters worse, Jeff Daniels suffers from a profound case of arachnophobia. John Goodman supports the cast as a slovenly exterminator, and Frank Marshall, longtime producer of Steven Spielberg's films, makes his directorial debut in Arachnophobia.

Watch it now


Jeff Daniels
as Dr. Ross Jennings
Harley Jane Kozak
as Molly Jennings
John Goodman
as Delbert McClintock
Julian Sands
as Doctor James Atherton
Stuart Pankin
as Sheriff Parsons
Brian McNamara
as Chris Collins
Mark L. Taylor
as Jerry Manley
Henry Jones
as Dr. Sam Metcalf
Peter Jason
as Henry Beechwood
James Handy
as Milton Briggs
Roy Brocksmith
as Irv Kendall
Kathy Kinney
as Blaire Kendall
Mary Carver
as Margaret Hollins
Garette Ratliff Henson
as Tommy Jennings
Marlene Katz
as Shelley Jennings
Jane Marla Robbins
as Edna Beechwood
Theo Schwartz
as Bunny Beechwood
Cori Wellins
as Becky Beechwood
Chance Boyer
as Bobby Beechwood
Brandy Norwood
as Brandy Beechwood
Frances Bay
as Evelyn Metcalf
Lois De Banzie
as Henrietta Manley
Warren Rice
as Dick Manley
Michael Steve Jones
as Irv's Assistant
Fiona Walsh
as Little Girl
Nathaniel Spitzley
as Todd Miller
Mai-Lis Kuniholm
as Girl Friend
View All

News & Interviews for Arachnophobia

Critic Reviews for Arachnophobia

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (3)

  • Frank Marshall's sophisticated feature directing debut never indulges in ultimate gross-out effects and carefully chooses both its victims and its means of depicting their dispatch.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • First-time director Frank Marshall has long been Steven Spielberg's producer, and he's learned the master's lessons well.

    Apr 7, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Designed to reduce the audience to a squirming mass, the film yields plenty of grisly pleasures.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • That sound you hear in the background is the ''ugh!'' heard round the world. Luckily, ''Arachnophobia'' will also be generating its share of boisterous, nervous laughter.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Directing duties go to Frank Marshall who makes a brilliant debut, effectively weaving together thrills and humour in equal measure.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Arachnophobia

  • Feb 05, 2015
    While not strictly speaking a HorrorComedy, Arachnophobia is a very light hearted creature feature that scores massive points for its effects, and not much else.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2013
    This is one of those films that can be described as a classic B-movie in both the good sense and the bad. Its very much like the film 'Congo' really, exaggerated characters, plenty of creepy moments, elements of hunting mixed with suspense...but all in a slightly comical way, not in an overly serious way. The films title says it all really, playing on the fears that many people have and doing it in bloody good fashion I'll say. One big ugly motherf**ker of a spider hitches a ride from Venezuela and ends up in a small wholesome American as apple pie town. Once there it breeds with the local spiders and creates a whole army of deadly eight legged facehuggers that go on the rampage biting all the lovely townsfolk, how horrific!. Its up to the new doc in town, Jeff Daniels, to save everyone...yeah not good, having Jeff Daniels as you're only hope!. 'A web would indicate an arachnoid presence' Loved the whole scenario of Daniel's new in town City doctor character up against the aged, stuck in the past, doesn't like change, old fashioned methods small town doctor. Brilliantly played by Henry Jones. This film is so darn hokey its fantastic, everything within it it cliched and predictable but that's the way it should be. There are no complaints here, no moaning, this is exactly what was set out to do and you get exactly what you'd expect, tiny aliens invading smallville USA. So yes the main daddy spider is an animatronic laugh out loud effect, they have clearly tried to make him look real but its very obvious looking yet highly cool at the same time. You don't see him too clearly, mainly the legs, but in the final showdown he presents himself (almost) in all his furry glory, hissing and screaming too I might add!. What was impressive about this film was they used real spiders alongside the fake ones. In fact they used lots of real spiders, it makes you wonder how on earth they managed to do it, get the spiders to go where they wanted and create some really decent spine tingling moments. I've read they attract them using cold or heat?? sounds bizarre, but you must admit many shots in this film look terrific as the little blighters scurry around. The more impressive shots are seeing the spiders dangling on their web threads. Of course the winning formula here is the lurking fear factor. The devious fellows behind the film use every trick in the book damn them, things that you dread, that you have nightmares about. Spiders on your face, inside cereal boxes, in you bed, on your hand, in you hair, hanging down from the ceiling on their web threads and hovering above you or landing on your head!, leaping at you, in the shower, inside slippers etc...There's an absolute multitude of moments that will make you jump or squirm involuntary (if you don't like spiders), just the sheer vision of seeing one of these little long legged arachnids spring into action is enough to give me the shits. Its funny how such small little creatures that actually do exist (this ain't no fantasy monster flick) can create such powerful reactions from us. I'm sure some folk would say this is more scary than any slasher/psycho horror flick. Myself, I don't like spiders at all, and this film certainly made me check where my feet were whilst watching. A well made flick that gives you the creeps and also looks really good too, its still B-movie schlock but the wonderful characters, brilliant spider camera work and the full on American cheese is glorious. Kudos to John Goodman as the exterminator, funny character, amusing look and of course completely hammy. 'Actually, he's probably still at the bottom of my shoe. You really can't tell what it is anymore'.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2012
    A fun horror film from Marshall ( a long-time Spielberg collaborator) that will have you looking under the bed and in dark corners for spiders for days to come. If you don't like spiders then this film will really creep you out as they obviously use real ones for a lot of the time and keep the fake ones for the ridiculously huge ones shipped from Venezuela. All credit to Daniels for not freaking out during the last scenes of the film as he is surrounded by teeny-tiny spider coming at him from every angle. I certainly couldn't do that! A more family-friendly horror (the deaths aren't gruesome) that is obviously inspired by some of Spielberg's films (the family centre from 'Poltergeist', 'Gremlins' and 'ET' are an obvious influence) this doesn't challenge but will probably give you the creeps, literally!
    David S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2011
    I honestly think it wasn't that great of a movie. I mean, there were some pretty spine-tingling scenes/imagery, but it just wasn't that great for a horror film. I guess it all depends on your fear of bugs.
    Jacob P Super Reviewer

Arachnophobia Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features