Itsy Bitsy is a creature feature that follows Walter Clark (Bruce Davison of X-Men) and his newly hired live-in nurse Kara Spencer (Elizabeth Roberts of Word Party). Kara has mysteriously moved herself and two young children (Jesse and Cambria) several states over to Walter’s abandoned guest house. While Kara and her kids come with baggage of their own, they arrive on Walter’s doorstep to find that he is haunted by his past. Itsy Bitsy is a tale of personal demons, denial of responsibility, and a lovely spider goddess that has come for her blood sacrifice.
Itsy Bitsy was definitely not what I was expecting after reading the description and title. I figured this would be another B-movie that would bring joy to my stone cold heart, give me some laughs, pair well with my popcorn and wine and that would be just fine. However, what I found instead was a delightful film that had a coherent plot, compelling characters, and made the wise choice to use practical effects.
The characters in director Micah Gallo’s film all have true depth. And while the viewer is given a bit of backstory on each of them, the movie fixates on their faults and struggles. Arman Darbo (who plays Kara’s eldest son Jesse) is a fantastic actor, and despite his youthful appearance, he delivers a strong, gut-wrenching performance. For that matter, all the characters in Itsy Bitsy are portrayed like real people, which makes their development so much more fascinating. I found myself not only drawn into the drama of the family being harassed by the spider goddess, but also what drew them to Walter’s in the first place.
Scenes of the giant spider crawling across the floor and hissing at her victims are not silly or hilarious. Instead, Gallo plays it straight and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Itsy Bitsy could have gone the cheaper CG route when it came to the rendering of the spider or the attacks on the people in the film, but the use of practical special effects and a spider puppet proved to be an amazing choice. I was so thrilled they decided to go this route, as many creature features waste viewers’ time with a meh storyline and an over-hyped, computer generated beast.
Overall, my only real complaints with Itsy Bitsy have to do with the title and the ending line of the film. While it can be said that starting a written document is hard, I am finding that the ending line of a movie has that same difficulty. How do you wrap up an intricate storyline with some meaningful phrases? However, despite that, the title of Itsy Bitsy does not do this movie justice. I wonder if this was a conscious choice to surprise viewers of the film? But even if that is the case, I don’t think the title does the film any favors.
So, if you are in the mood for a creature feature with a neat storyline and authentic characters, Itsy Bitsy should be your next horror flick! It is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Director(s): Micah Gallo
Writer(s): Jason Alvino, Bryan Dick
Stars: Bruce Davison, Elizabeth Roberts, Arman Darbo
Release: Now on Blu-Ray & DVD
Studio/ Production Co: Hacienda Film Co., Paradox Film Group, Strange Vision
Length: 94 min
Sub-Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy