‘Always check under the bed’
Itsy Bitsy is a 2018 American creature feature horror film directed by Micah Gallo from a screenplay co-written with Jason Alvino and Bryan Dick. The movie stars Elizabeth Roberts, Bruce Davison and Denise Crosby.
A single mother, Kara (Elizabeth Roberts), moves from New York to the quiet countryside with her two children for a job opportunity she can’t afford to turn down. The family moves into their humble new guesthouse. Kara begins her work as a private nurse to Walter (Bruce Davison), a man stricken with multiple sclerosis and an appraiser of rare antiquities with a secretive past.
Her teenage son, Jesse (Arman Darbo), is unhappy about this most of all. Losing his friends and moving to the middle of nowhere hasn’t made his job of looking after his little sister, Cambria (Chloe Perrin), any easier.
Doom precedes them. Akiba (Treva Etienne), a shady international associate of Walter’s, brings with him a mysterious relic of ancient origin. Kara has a run-in with Sheriff Jane (Denise Crosby).
All too quickly they discover the relic contains more than just legends. Inside, a terrifying creature born of ancient darkness awaits and pure instinct: a prehistoric cave spider, unlike the modern world, has ever seen.
“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.” Bloody Flicks
“The pieces for a formulaic yet perfectly fine little dramatic thriller are all there. “Itsy Bitsy” just plays them a touch casually without careful consideration for how each beat affects another. More time baking in the creative oven might have added fuller flavor.” Culture Crypt
” …the writer-director’s intent on delivering realistic drama along with scares ultimately proves counterproductive. It’s hard to take Kara’s drug addiction plight seriously, after all, when there’s the threat of a giant spider looming over the proceedings. While it wasn’t necessary to go for the wacky laughs of something like 2002’s Eight Legged Freaks, a little more humor would have been welcome.” The Hollywood Reporter
“There are some amusingly gooey spider effects, which makes sense, considering Gallo cut his teeth doing post work on films like the Hatchet franchise. However, it feels like there is considerably more family melodrama that most genre fans could really do without. Frankly, the spiders could do their worst to virtually all the human characters and we wouldn’t care.” J.B. Spins
“Once Itsy Bitsy enters the finale, all eight legs finally get moving, propelling the film into an Aliens-esque showdown that left me totally fulfilled. The rest of the film may be too slow-going and heavier on the drama than it should be, but it’s as if Gallo finally lets loose and unleashes spider hell on the viewer.” Killer Horror Critic
“There’s no need to invest in the heroine’s problems — or their parallels to a killer creature — to be gripped by Itsy Bitsy. The gothic atmosphere and the disgustingly gooey special effects are the main attraction. The existential dread is just an extra.” Los Angeles Times
“The focus on Kara is admirable if a bit misguided. The entire story of Itsy Bitsy is just an excuse for a final showdown between the characters and the spider. In the meantime, we’re just left wondering which side Gallo sees as the bigger distraction from the other.” Mark Reviews Movies
“Itsy Bitsy is fun as a horror movie, but it’s with its cast where the movie really shines brightest. Because there’s more focus on the movie’s family drama than their ordeal with the deadly spider, the casting was very vital for Itsy Bitsy‘s main characters. Fortunately, it delivers.” Movie Web
“Movies that build up their own mythology are always stronger at their core, but it’s rare that telling of the legend is so well done. Kudos! While there were some nits that could be picked they were easy to ignore. Itsy Bitsy is a great creature feature grounded by its practical effects and a wonderful cast.” The Scariest Things
“Taking a more serious, dramatic approach than other recent films in the sub-genre, Itsy Bitsy is a creature feature about a murderous giant spider that cares about its human characters. I found it eminently satisfying, and good fun to boot.” Screen Anarchy
“The drama is well enough handled, and the acting is solid […] The thing is though, who watches something like Itsy Bitsy for heavy drama? It’s certainly nice to see a film like this that has a depth to its script rather than just a bunch of stereotypes getting killed. But Itsy Bitsy goes a bit too far in that direction.” Voices from the Balcony
Earlier in 2019, Shout! Studios bought all North American distribution rights to Itsy Bitsy, including theatrical, broadcast, video-on-demand, and home entertainment rights for cross-platform releases in the U.S. and Canada.
“This is a horror film with legs, eight of them to be precise. It’s scary, stylish and disturbing in a very primal way, and it will have you double-checking every space in your home for quite some time. So naturally, we’re delighted to share the experience far and wide,” said Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions at Shout! Studios.
Itsy Bitsy is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Scream Factory on October 1st, 2019. Special features:
Audio commentary with director/co-writer Micah Gallo
Audio Commentary with director/co-writer Micah Gallo and writers Bryan Dick and Jason Alvino
The Spider: Beginnings featurette
Itsy Bitsy: The Journey featurette
Denise on Set featurette
The Most Spidery Spider – Andy Dick Screen Tests for Itsy Bitsy
Main cast and characters:
Bruce Davison … Walter
Denise Crosby … Sheriff Jane
Elizabeth Roberts … Kara
Arman Darbo … Jesse
Chloe Perrin … Cambria
Treva Etienne … Ahkeeba
Eileen Dietz … Sally
Matty Cardarople … Donny
Grace Shen … Storyteller Priestess
Doua Moua … Actor
Alfred Adderly … Mover