Arachnoquake (pretty much minus the quake)

10 Mar

arachnoquake

It seems like there’s been a bit of a lapse in spider-related films.  I guess goblin sharks and mutated piranhas are slightly more terrifying than the common spider these days.  Arachnoquake attempts to make spiders scary once again.  It fails.

There’s a bit of an issue with the name of this film too – sure, there’s an earthquake that’s set before the story picks up, but er…that’s about it.  I wanted lava and giant gaping holes on the ground with massive hairy legs coming out.  Instead, we got essentially one crack in a road and a few tiny pink spiders – we all know nothing is more threatening than pink.  I mean, just look at Mr Blobby.  *shudders*

Perhaps more terrifying than the arachnids, is the cast.  Neelix from Star Trek Voyager makes an appearance and one of the main characters is Edward Furlong of Terminator 2 fame (and not much else).  Furlong looks nothing short of horrific these days – he would make a good extra in The Addams Family!  What the hell happened?  When did he attain a body only a penguin would be proud of?  He looks like he’s not slept a wink in about 6 years and has done nothing but eat.

His character’s got a rather questionable relationship with someone who may or may not be his mother (who knows – we got a bit distracted discussing how bad he looked to follow this point).  The mother/wife character is one a site-seeing tour with her kids.  When the tour hits a hole in the road they discover a pink spider and so begins their ordeal.  There are a few amusing moments and a nice scene in a supermarket which is a tiny bit reminiscent of the genius that is Zombieland.  Somewhere along the lines, we discover that the wife/mother character is a high school biology teacher – a fact which clearly means that she’s qualified to assess the threat of these terrifyingly pink spiders (they’re albino, of course).  She’s able to dissect one and conclude that the spiders can shoot flames (from er…their mouths, I assume?) because they have a pouch of sulfuric gas.  So…farty, bloated spiders, eh?  Nice.  Clearly, the two times they do this blew the budget for the rest of the film though, so don’t get your hopes up.

The spiders don’t seem to do much besides mildly scare a bunch of cheerleaders in their school bus by dousing it in webbing (I’m not really sure how they were planning on getting inside the bus) and pick off people one by one.   Besides the flame throwing effect they seem to have the ability to impregnate people with their bite – which leads to baby spiders bursting through their skin like a poor-man’s Alien chestburster.  To be fair to the effects people – it’s pretty gross.  I’m not quite sure why it leads to death, mind you, but it’s best not to ask questions.  After that there’s also the weird penchant for kidnapping people…  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, I wasn’t aware that spiders did much kidnapping in real life.  It’s not like the wait in dark alley ways to drag some unsuspecting fly away kicking and buzzing.  I mean, sure, if something finds itself in their web then yeah, they’ll turn it into a nice little burrito and suck it dry, but they don’t go wandering about and drag things back to the web like a caveman.  Anyway, I digress…I’m not really sure why the spiders were taking people back to their lair.  Or why they had a queen at all – surely that’s ants?  I guess Antquake doesn’t really have the same ring to it…

Once in the spider lair, our heroes are faced with the downright baffling issue of why the queen looks positively tiny close up in the cavern, but absolutely mahoosive from a distance.  I’m fairly certain the production team had a nice little discussion akin to the scene in Father Ted where Ted is explaining perspective to Dougal .  Also, it’s a bit unclear quite how something the size of a family home (from a distance, obviously) could fit in and out of a tiny well-like burrow is a bit questionable.  Unless…maybe the queen has the ability to teleport…that must be it!

Once the queen has managed to extract herself from her burrow (possibly with the help of copious amounts of vaseline or teleportation or a small tow-truck – this scene should’ve been filmed, it’d have been hilarious) she decides to climb two skyscrapers and make a nice web.  The final sequence is very reminiscent of scenes from the rather dodgy (yet fun) alien-bugs-attacking-earth video game Earth Defence Force – badly rendered bugs crawling over large buildings.  OK, it’s missing the crappy voice-over and it’s way less engaging but hey.  Let’s not question the fact that it seems the only resources available to protect New Orleans from this new enemy are a smattering of army troops with handguns and er…the folk who were on a low-budget site-seeing tour…  Let’s also not question the completely bonkers idea that saves the day in the end.  Or the fact that the spiders have a hive mind…

On the whole, it’s utter nonsense – but quite enjoyable nonsense all the same.  I don’t think they quite had the budget to make enough use of the spiders – surely they should’ve been putting people in webs, burrito-ing them while they scream, sucking them dry – which makes it quite disappointing.  There’s also basically no use of the earth quakes in the film – which adds to the disappointment factor too.  I think this is my main issue with the film – if it’d been named something else I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more.  You can’t name a film Arachnoquake and then basically fail to deliver on both of the things mentioned in the title!  Still, I watched it with a bunch of friends and we did have a good laugh at it, so all is not lost.

5 gassy spiders out of 10

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