Director: Jack Sholder
Jose Sancho/Dr. Leon
A group of doctors and military tough guys (aka Burger King cashiers who act on the side) hit some tropical island. They eventually come head to head with all kinds of mutated beasties and one big-ass alien spider puppet. Get the beer and call the boyz pronto, it's one of "those".
What led poor Jack Sholder down this path? He's the man behind two strong films that I will always cherish: the relentless action bonanza "The Hidden" and the highly entertaining, gay overtones-filled "Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2" (towel whip that ass Freddy…lol). This is a major step down for the hombre and that’s a damn shame. "Arachnid" is a straight-laced, typical monster movie. It never remotely tries to break out of the overused mold in which it’s comfortably resting and revels in its unoriginality. Having said that, there are still some giggles to be had here. And sometimes...that’s worth something.
Party dudes/ettes and horror stoners of the world rejoice! This sucker can be enjoyed on a "so bad, it's side-splitting" level. I’m happy that I checked this one out with a bunch of homies and yes, intoxicated; otherwise I don’t think I would’ve survived it. The crappy script is definitely the low or the high point of the picture, depending on how many hard drinks you’ve slammed back before pressing “play”. The film steals heavily from "Jurassic Park 3", "Predator", "Aliens" and even a little film in which I starred called "Deadly Scavengers" (the similarities to that flick are beyond astounding). The screenplay is filled with hilariously clichéd dialogue, forced character interactions, a half-assed hint at a romance that never goes anywhere (where’s my sex scene, yo?), a bunch of actors who can’t speak English for shit (the muscled, bandana dude cracked me up so bad), plot holes the size of my DVD collection (just too many to mention) and bad horror movie character moves up the “ying yang” (again...way too many for me to list). Yes, I threw beer cans at the screen in joyful glee many times. YIPPEE, HURRAY!
Effects-wise, the film constantly goes back and forth in terms of quality. We get some knee-slapping bad homemade CGI early on (wait till you see that explosion and that alien entity…LOL) and the murderous creatures range from pretty gnarly (that snake-like monster that screams “weee” when it flies by) to schlocky as schlock (the giant spider should’ve stayed in the bushes). But taking into account the film’s “raison d’etre”, we win both ways. When the effects work, we laugh at the ridiculous situations in which they’re set and when they don’t, we just chuckle at the lousy effect itself. It’s all good. To top that off, the red wet gore is abundant (see below) and the giant spider webs are actually pretty kool. Good freaking stuff!
But even though the pace is tight and that the film is fun in a "so bad, I’m drunk" kind of way, "Arachnid" is still pretty weak fluff. Shit, it doesn’t even know how to end on a plausible note (that plane isn’t going anywhere…ALRIGHT!!!!). So if you’re looking for a top-notch horror flick with good production values, a strong screenplay and solid acting...skip this silly spider. But before you dismiss it entirely, ask yourself this question: "Does seeing a hot chick sporting a Lara Croft wannabe outfit, holding a plastic gun and shooting at an insect puppet appeal to you?" If the word "yes" strongly resounds in your mind, you’ve hit the damn jackpot here. Who wants a beer? Scratch that…who wants to toke on this ARACHNID!
This baby has some nice gory moments. The highlight is definitely the dude with the ticks crawling under his skin, with one eventually bursting out of his eyeball (very messy). We also get some bugger vomiting, blood vomiting, nasty spider liquid being spewed, some spider abuse and more! The sauce is spread thick here…
NOTE: Most of the so-called “Marines” look like they’d be more comfortable wearing aprons around their waists and washing dishes versus acting tough with a gun in their hands.
Chris Potter (Valentine) looks like a used up Ken doll, handles his dialogue like a pro but I just didn’t buy him as a military dude. A waiter on the other hand… Alex Reid (Mercer) is pleasant to the eye and holds her own real well. She’s the better thespian here. I must say that the forced chemistry between Potter and Reid felt off though. I couldn’t understand a word Jose Sancho (Dr. Leon) was spitting out and the same can be said about Neus Asensi (Susanna). Talk about thick accents! It made the film way funnier! I can’t count the number of times I turned to a friend and said: "What the fuck are they talking about??" Ravil Issyanov (Capri) comes out of this looking good and I wanted to see more of Roqueford Allen (Bear), I just dug the guy. Robert Vicencio (Toeboy) keeps repeating the same line in some native language. Don’t ask me what he was saying…I DON’T KNOW! Still pretty funny though…
T & A
The script offers us one extremely stupid reason for Chris Potter (Valentine) and Alex Reid (Mercer) to take off their tops. The boyz will be happy to know that Reid looks great in her bra and the gals/gay dudes will dig Potter showing off his cut chest. Also, for some unknown reason when Potter puts his shirt back on, he refuses to button it for a while. I guess he wanted us all to take a strong gander at his pecks. We get it dude, you hit the gym...ten four on that one. There are also some natives in loin cloths or something. Tit shots would’ve helped this flick from a hetero POV.
Sholder does what he can with the budget that he’s given and manages to make the film look okay. We get some nice aerial shots, some groovy angles, a good use of the tropical location (loved the beach) and some decent cinematography. Unfortunately, the action sequences ain't all that, the scares are absent and the film’s "blah" script kept dragging it down. What can you do…
The score is pretty solid; it’s actually too good for this film.
Distributor: Trimark Home Entertainment
IMAGE: The Widescreen image is adequate. I didn’t notice any faults.
SOUND: The 5.1 Dolby Digital is uneven. The score is way loud but the dialogue has a tendency to go low. Lots of “volume” juggling required.
EXTRAS: We only get the Trailer for the film. Talk about empty.
"Arachnid" is tacky, cheap and poorly written, but man does it come through on a drunken night with the boyz/galz. From a hetero male point of view though some tit shots would’ve made my rating (among other things) go up. I guess you can’t have everything in life. If you’re going to check it out, invite the crew, turn off the lights, down mucho brewskies, kick back and get ready for dumb fun. If it’s a solid horror film that you’re craving on that particular evening…well…you’re banging the wrong spider bud.
Brain Yuzna was creative producer on this picture. Steve Johnson did the effects and Marc Sevi (Ghoulies 4) wrote the script.
Wait till you see the opening credits. There are so many production companies tied to this flick that it's hilarious. I thought it was a joke!