Review: Arachnoquake / Cert: 15 / Director: G.E. Furst / Screenplay: Paul A. Birkett / Starring: Tracey Gold, Edward Furlong, Bug Hall, Ethan Phillips / Release Date: Out Now
In Arachnoquake a freak earth tremor in the New Orleans area releases a race of vicious, albino giant spiders which have been evolving at the centre of the earth for millions of years. They also spit fire and walk on water. Really. We’re not making this up.
You’ll not be too surprised (we hope) to learn that this is another Sy Fy ‘monster of the week’ TV movie and, despite its general idiocy and ineptness, it’s actually not that bad. Giant spider movies are always fun - who hasn’t enjoyed a quick shriek at the likes of Tarantula, Kingdom of the Spiders and even Eight-Legged Freaks? - and Arachnoquake, whilst hardly in the same league, has a few worthwhile gross-out thrills and a nice sense of self-awareness with its tongue planted very firmly in its cheek. The low budget fun begins when an unconvincing CGI spider scuttles out of a crevice in the ground following an unexpected earthquake in Louisiana. Before long - Arachnoquake doesn’t hang about - hordes of giant arachnids of various sizes are racing across the city (which looks oddly under-populated) and terrorising a bus load of tourists and their slacker tour guide Paul (played by the brilliantly-named Bug Hall), a swamp tour boat piloted by Paul’s sister Annabel (Megan Adelle) and a busload of cheerleaders driven by Charlie (Terminator 2 star Furlong).
Determinedly cheap and cheerful stuff, Arachnoquake happily barrels along in a rush of decent action set pieces which do the job if you can turn a blind eye to the low-grade special effects and hammy, over-earnest acting. The spiders belch flame, attack victims with some sort of stinger and, in an amusingly-overambitious sequence, rush across the water with their little legs spinning like paddles. Inevitably the giant queen spider is drawn from her underground lair and sets off on a King Kong-style assault on New Orleans, spinning her web between two skyscrapers as a handful of military types run around shouting and firing guns at her.
Arachnoquake is too hilarious and good-natured to be offensive and, for Sy Fy, it’s a quantum leap in quality from last year’s dire Camel Spiders and is cautiously recommended for lovers of unpretentious throwaway big insect movies.