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There is a spider in Itsy Bitsy. It does indeed eat people, and the stray cat doesn’t stand a chance either.

However, Itsy Bitsy aims for something more. At the story’s core, a grieving single mother, mourning the loss of her youngest. Also, she’s an addict – the spider captures that presence, that urge to keep taking pills. The arachnid stands in for that danger as it lingers in shadows near her two kids.

Itsy Bitsy doesn’t rush things. If anything, the languishing pace focuses in on a hard drama rather than horror. Addiction takes the place of monster murder, both equal in their terrifying possibility. That time isn’t wasted, instead building flawed characters – even the kids. Everyone steals in Itsy Bitsy (from drugs to artifacts to cats), making this isolated world uncomfortable even without eight legs running across the floor. The sense of good or right doesn’t show until the final act.

With the brakes off, Itsy Bitsy finds its energy

Those closing moments work, at their best during a tense attic escape. Kara (Elizabeth Roberts) tries to get her kids out as the spider appears to sleep – this during a thunderstorm because it’s a horror movie. In terms of lighting, direction, music, performance, that’s Itsy Bitsy at its high point. That also turns into a moment of recovery, forcing Kara to fight that force endangering her and her kids.

Credit the casting too, who find not only the effective Roberts but two sensational kids in Chloe Perrin and Arman Darbo; that pair goes well beyond the expectations of indie material and their respective ages.

Appreciating their work or not, Itsy Bitsy’s lack of urgency wears this story down. Kara’s repeated traumatic flashbacks clog any flow, as do those scenes of her rifling through medicine cabinets (addiction realized in images, if repetitive). It’s a relief when the critter shows up, a capable practical puppet mixed with budget-proper digital. With the brakes off, Itsy Bitsy finds its energy, honing in on Kara’s fight and her attempt to maintain motherly instincts as poison takes hold; whether of the insect or pill variety only matters for the sake of thrills.

Video

A struggle with noise is a constant in Itsy Bitsy. At times severe, digital cinematography adds definite grit, if an obnoxious and disruptive aesthetic.

Shadows vary, at times allowing noise to drop in. At their peak, black levels force crush. At least the perkier contrast brings firm highlights and even some splendor early on as Kara first arrives at the house.

Generally detailed imagery finds facial definition in full, rendered sharply by pleasing source resolution. Exteriors truly excel in handling the isolated location. Shrubs and trees stand out for their visible texture. So it goes for the spider puppet too.

Primarily a nighttime thriller, blue takes a dominate position in the palette. However, the splashes of saturation stand out, creating idyllic scenery early and a couple dazzling sunsets.

Audio

The score doesn’t hold back in delivering strong, rich LFE. Opening credits use war drums that dig in for rich, vivid bass. Otherwise, opportunities are few to utilize the lows.

Fun comes by way of the rears, active in keeping the creature moving around the soundstage. Storms flare up with mild rain effects and thunder jumping to the rears. A small stereo split will capture a few off-screen items.

Extras

Writer/director Micha Gallo features on both of the included commentaries, going solo for the first, joined by his two co-writers (Jason Alvino, Bryan Dick) on the other. Three featurettes combine for 10-minutes total, limited if with enough scope to peer behind-the-scenes. A bizarre comedic bit involves Andy Dick pretending to mocap the spider in a separate piece. Some storyboards and trailers come up next.

Note Itsy Bity comes with a slipcover, although it’s not depicting any scene or character in the movie. The reversible cover art is far better.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Itsy Bitsy
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Movie

A killer spider doubles as a stand-in for addition in Itsy Bitsy, a slowly moving indie horror flick with a strong finish and performances.

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