For some, there's nothing more frightening than creepy-crawlies. Whether it's an ant, spider, cockroach, centipede, or scorpion, just a sighting could make one faint without warning.
Which is why so many films have been made about bugs and insects. A lot of them are pretty terrible, mind you, but some of them are actually quite good and worth a watch.
If you're squeamish about tiny, multi-legged crawlers, maybe this list isn't for you. But since you're here, I assume you're interested!
Here are my picks for the best movies about bugs, insects, and spiders that'll give you the ultimate heebie-jeebies.
10. The Mist (2007)
Directed by Frank Darabont
Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller (2h 6m)
Is anyone surprised to see a Stephen King adaptation on this list? It'd be weird if he didn't make an appearance, what with The Mist so packed full of frightening creatures.
When a thick, dense fog begins to descend on a small town in Maine, most of the townspeople don't think much of it and continue on with their lives. For David Drayton, that means shopping at the market.
But for many of those same townspeople, this will be the last day of errands they ever have—because the mysterious fog brings all kinds of apocalyptic nightmares with it.
The Mist is a solid monster horror, with plenty of creepy and malicious insects to make you groan in both terror and disgust.
9. The Ant Bully (2006)
Directed by John A. Davis
Starring Paul Giamatti, Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 28m)
After a young boy named Lucas destroys an ant colony with a magnifying glass, the magical ant sorcerer that dwells within the colony shrinks him down to their size.
Trapped in this strange new world, Lucas must adapt to his new environment and learn a few things before he can grow back up and return to his life pre-shrink.
Featuring a brilliant voice acting cast in Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti, and Nicolas Cage, The Ant Bully is a lesser-known film that's certainly silly but surprisingly entertaining.
8. Mimic (1997)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin
Horror, Sci-Fi (1h 45m)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Mimic was a kind of calling card for the visionary horror director, who up until this point had only directed Cronos and two short films (Geometria and Doña Lupe).
The plot of Mimic follows a cockroach crisis that's overtaking New York City. They aren't just gross—they're spreading a deadly disease that's claiming the lives of many children.
Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) comes up with a solution, but her attempt to quell the epidemic might end up creating more problems than before, despite her best intentions...
7. Bee Movie (2007)
Directed by Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner
Starring Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 31m)
As we'll see throughout the course of this list, it appears that movies about bugs that are made for kids can't seem to help but comment on the socio-economic structure of society. Odd...
And Bee Movie is one such movie.
The plot follows Barry B. Benson, an average bee who wants to escape the rat race and live with the humans. He actually does it, too, but they end up stealing and selling his precious honey.
Once he realizes that man's greed isn't just a slight against him but a damaging force that threatens the entire planet, he decides to pursue a lawsuit—against the human race.
You've probably seen Bee Movie treated like a meme on the internet, but it's surprisingly funny and insightful, complete with Jerry Seinfeld offering his iconic vocals to the main character.
6. Them! (1954)
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Starring James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon
Horror, Sci-Fi (1h 34m)
Them! is best remembered as one of the first 1950s nuclear monster movies where normal animals grow huge. In fact, Them! was the film that started the whole "big bug" film trend.
After a colony of giant ants is discovered in the desert—not just giant, but angry and irradiated—the United States military fears that these mutant insects could be a threat to humankind.
And sure enough, when two of their queens end up spreading their larvae across New Mexico, all hell breaks loose.
Them! is a must-watch classic film for anyone who's a fan of sci-fi cinema, but especially for those who enjoy films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It's fun, iconic, and still relevant.
5. A Bug's Life (1998)
Directed by John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton
Starring Kevin Spacey, David Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 35m)
Released the same year as DreamWorks' Antz, Pixar's A Bug's Life may not have been quite as good, but it was still compelling.
Drawing large inspiration from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), the story tracks one inventor ant named Flik who's constantly inventing giant messes that his colony must deal with.
In wanting to rectify one very costly mistake of his, he resolves to find a band of warriors who will protect his ant colony from a bullying plague of grasshoppers.
Offering a similar flavor of social commentary on capitalism and class structure as its rival project Antz, bug movie aficionados were treated well in 1998 with this twin release.
4. Naked Lunch (1991)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
Drama (1h 55m)
David Cronenberg might have a fascination with bugs, given that Naked Lunch isn't his only contribution to this list.
In Naked Lunch, Cronenberg managed to make one of his most surreal, most bizarre movies ever. In its massively off-beat plot, we follow William Lee, a professional exterminator.
However, a life in pest control doesn't come without issues. Indeed, the allure of using insecticide as a recreational drug begins to create problems in both William's personal and professional lives.
If you know anything about David Cronenberg and his directorial style, then I'm sure you can guess that he takes this movie about insects into some pretty strange places...
3. Antz (1998)
Directed by Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson
Starring Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman
Animation, Adventure, Comedy (1h 23m)
With Antz, first-time directors Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson gave us an existentialist movie about an ant suffering from ennui, presented as a children's movie but deep enough for adults.
The plot of Antz centers on Z, an ant who feels small and insignificant. He eventually has this feeling confirmed by his therapist, who assures him that he is, in fact, very insignificant.
Thus begins a film that analyzes human society through the lens of an ant society. Antz is clever, funny, and offers intriguing thoughts on the structures and motivations that dominate our civilization.
The film works on multiple levels, even if children in the audience don't necessarily pick up on everything.
2. Arachnophobia (1990)
Directed by Frank Marshall
Starring Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, John Goodman
Comedy, Horror, Thriller (1h 49m)
Anyone who hates bugs, insects, spiders, creepy-crawlies, or pretty much anything with more than four legs should steer clear of Arachnophobia.
As you might be able to glean from the title alone, Arachnophobia is one of the most spine-tingling films ever made.
Arachnophobia centers on a family that moves into a new house out in the countryside, where they hope to start a new life.
Meanwhile, a highly venomous spider escapes containment at a nearby research facility and begins hatching eggs all over the place.
Soon, the family finds themselves absolutely inundated by arachnids. Will they make it through the night?
Successfully blending horror and comedy, Arachnophobia provides the perfect balance of jump scares and laughs, and we remember it as one of the greatest horror movies from the 90s.
1. The Fly (1986)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi (1h 36m)
So much can be said about David Cronenberg's The Fly, which could top all kinds of lists: best body horror, best sci-fi tragedy, best remake, best special effects.
To say it was very influential would be an understatement, and that's why it tops this list—it's absolutely among the greatest movies about bugs, insects, and spiders ever made.
The Fly follows a scientist who attempts to revolutionize space-time by inventing a teleportation machine. Upon completion, he eagerly conducts a test run without taking proper precautions.
But when a tiny fly manages to get into the pod right when he gives it a whirl, things go wrong in the worst way possible.
What comes next is a sci-fi horror film you won't ever forget.
While it's definitely in tight competition with Arachnophobia, we think The Fly is more important as a film for how it pioneered and shaped an entire subgenre of gross, nauseating horror.