Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This movie has spiders in it, which is in the class of Arachnid, and these spiders have come out after an earthquake and thus… ‘Arachnoquake’.  Yup, I figgered that out all by myself.  Most of us are all familiar with the ‘The Most Dangerous Night on Television’, the Sci-Fi Channel’s old motto for their numerous and dubious Sci-Fi originals, but this month… June of 2012… it’s the ‘The Most Dangerous Month on Television’ since SyFy has picked up four originals to air on four consecutive weeks with ‘Arachnoquake’ being the third of the four.  While I’m pleased to have been alive to witness this historic event, let’s hope they don’t ever do it again.  CDC regulations explicitly state that individuals need at least a two weeks, preferably three, between SyFy original movie viewings.  I’m just telling you what the CDC says.

There’s an earthquake which unleashes some blind spiders that spit blood, spit fire, grow to the size of VW Beetles, and lay their eggs inside of people like The Alien.  Just so you know, if you have any kind of biological / entomological acumen, this knowledge will only get in your way while attempting to enjoy ‘Arachnoquake’.

Our movie centers around a young shiftless man named Paul (Bug Hall) who only lives to drink, lay up and drive his old man Roy (Ethan Phillips) crazy.  This family runs some kind of tour business, along with hot baby sister Petra (Olivia Hardt), but somehow Paul has run the boat ashore and has now been demoted to tour bus duty.  Onboard this particular tour of New Orleans are a crusty old man (Grant James, who was pure genius is this), a black couple who will die soon (Lucky Johnson, Tina Gathright), and a family visiting from Houston in Katelynn (Tracey Gold) who is a schoolteacher and thus we can safely assume will be blessed with bug exposition knowledge.  Also along are her teenage kids Annabelle (Megan Adelle) and Justin (Skyy Moore) with the patriarch floating around in Charlie (Edward Furlong), but he’s driving around a girl’s softball team.  Don’t know where he’s taking them though.  There are a lot of vague loose ends like that in this movie.

Allirghtythen, so Paul is showing these tourists around when the spiders start to attack and spiders are every freaking where.  Since they’re on a bus I’m thinking this is gonna be ‘Spiders meets Speed’, but then they get off the bus and enter a convenience store. 

Now I’m thinking it’s ‘Spiders meets Assault on Precinct 13’ and they’re going to be holed up and stuff, but then they leave the store and eventually get on a boat.  Oh, I know… it’s ‘Spiders meets Speed 2’, but then they crash the boat and have to run in the jungle.  There they meet some crazy Cajun and I’m thinking ‘Spiders meets Deliverance’ but no, it’s just Spiders Eating People Who Are Annoying. 

Regardless, thanks to some knowledge that miss Spider Knowledge gave us, it’s going to be up to the no good Paul, who has never done anything for anybody except himself, to rise up, dig deep and kill the queen.  I know spiders don’t have queens, at least no species that I’m aware of, but what did we tell you about that entomological knowledge?  We weren’t joking about that. 

At this point I’ve become immune to most of the negative effects of the Sci-Fi original, thus I’ve been afforded the luxury of gleaning entertainment value from a Sci-Fi original that is independent of the movie actually being good.  This gift, or curse as it were, came in handy while watching ‘Arachnoquake’ because while it is not very good, it’s heart is in the right place as a wacky, tongue in cheek bug movie.  For the most part.  I mean there’s an awful lot of overwrought tragedy in this movie which just adds to this films gloriously wild set of inconsistencies. 

Inconsistencies such as the spiders voraciously attacking the tour bus, but somebody forgetting to tell the people on the street to act like CGI spiders are attacking just fifteen feet away because they were going about their merry window shopping ways.  Or the fact that this brood of spiders has a queen, but apparently any old spider can lay eggs under people’s skin, which makes having a queen kind of pointless.  Or the visual inconsistency of Tracey Gold and Edward Furlong being married.  Say you have a bunch of spiders on a bus full of high school girls, then watch the soldiers show up and observe that every single one them were sharpshooters, even with handguns, because normally you wouldn’t open fire on a busload of high school girls, no matter how annoying they might be.   Then there’s queen who looks to be about the side of a regular car sized spider in one shot, but then turned out to be the size of the Sears Tower.  And who was that poor woman dying of spider bites in the hotel, that the family left behind to perish a horrible, painful death without nary a thought? And I hate to SPOIL it for you, but Tracey Gold probably won’t be in ‘Arachnoquake 2: Return of the Blind Queen’, not that her alleged husband cared that his wife just died.  Of an asthma attack for goodness sakes.  Spiders everywhere and she dies of an asthma attack.  Or at least I think she’s dead.  They carted her off in the ambulance but didn’t put the hood over her face like they always do in movies.  Alive or dead, her husband did not give a damn.

Of course none of this means we didn’t get some entertainment out of ‘Arachnoquake’. The movie was directed by Griff Furst who is getting incrementally better at crafting this nonsense, the spider effects were pretty decent, the final battle with the queen was somewhat original and while the movie was erratically paced at times, at least it was never paced so slowly as to become dull, which is the one crime we can’t tolerate from our nonsensical Sci-Fi channel original movies.  All I’m saying is I didn’t want to drown myself after watching ‘Arachnoquake’.  Somebody put that on DVD box cover.

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