This summer feels like the comeback of character-driven monster movies.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters attempted thrust humans into the middle of a monster smackdown but failed miserably, but films such as Crawl and now Itsy Bitsy have proven with a good story and engaging characters your film can be a success.
Whereas some ‘monster’ movies focus too much on said titular monster, Itsy Bitsy puts a small family at the forefront of its story and feels all the better for it.
Yes, we do have a giant spider terrorizing their house but at times this feels like a secondary plot as a single mum and her two kids look to get over a recent family tragedy. This, of course, adds more fuel to the fire when our eight-legged friend comes to town.
It would have been really easy to do all of the spider effects as CGI but Itsy Bitsy gets brownie points for going for 99% practical effects which add to the terror when the big bloody thing attacks!
The only part of the story where this falters slightly is the ancient mysticism that explains the existence of such a gigantic spider and its purpose. We open with this story and although it adds a layer of mystery to the spider it feels shoehorned in, in other parts of the movie.
Director Micah Gallo has a grounding in horror, having worked with Adam Green on the Hatchet series and Frozen and does an excellent job of keeping the spider in the shadows for some time before it causes havoc. Even when it takes a family pet (that will remain nameless) this is done through shadow and suggestion rather than gore.
He plays with the age-old motif of the monster under the bed and at times this film does really make your skin crawl.
Itsy Bitsy was also a crowdfunded film and similar to 2016’s The Void, the filmmakers have shown what can be done with a limited budget and a compelling story.
Of course, there is potential for an Itsy Bitsy and here’s hoping it crawls its way onto our screens in the near future.