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A man is taken to a small clinic in Guam with mysterious bites on him. This sparks a search for what could have caused such wounds. A group of men and women fly to the island he lived on to investigate the situation. Due to technical problems, their small plane crashes and they are stranded on the island. After some time, they come to find the man's village is empty and that strange new breeds of killer arachnids have appeared all about the forest. Written by
Joe Shaffer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Valentine (Chris Potter) tells Mercer "Just help me get these people out of here and I'll come back with you" around 51 minutes in, Mercer (Alex Reid) opens her mouth to reply but only the voice of the doctor (José Sancho), who had just walked into their perspective, can be heard, making it sound like Mercer is talking with a man's voice as no audio whatsoever is heard coming from her mouth. See more »
I'm a fan of the 50s big monster movies like THEM! and their more-recent counterparts, films like ANACONDA and (especially) the TREMORS series. So when I saw a sneak preview of ARACHNID at the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors convention a year ago (and being that I'm also someone who likes to give a lot of low-budget direct-to-video movies a chance), I knew I'd have to check it out.
The setup is simple enough in the best 50s monster movie tradition: a team of scientists and ex-military types travel to a remote island to find the source of a mysterious new virus, and in the process come face to face with a giant web-spinning terror. The trailer suggested a Godzilla-sized spider. Instead, it's about eight feet tall and maybe ten feet long. Due to the thick accents of some of the foreign characters (several co-stars are from Spain, where some of the movie was shot), the dialogue is at times rather difficult to understand. There's the usual conflicts between characters, the character with a hidden agenda for tagging along, etc. If you're familiar with the old monster movies, you'll probably recognize these standards. The film takes its sweet time getting going, and the spider (after a brief half-obscured appearance near the beginning) doesn't fully appear until nearly an hour-and-five-minutes into the film. When you have a movie in which the star is the big title monster, that monster had better show up before the thirty/forty-minute mark. Otherwise, interest begins to wander, as it did with me. But I hung there, despite the boring moments in which characters walk off in the middle of the night after they've seen what happens to people who do the same, characters argue, characters complain, and the main military guy and pilot slowly bond. Once the spider is finally revealed to the characters' amazement and horror, the suspense is upped a little bit, leading to a frenzy climax in which the pilot and two more men you thought for sure had died (having gone off to establish communication to call for help) show up to fight back. And of course, there's the final shot that screams, "Sequel!"
Chris Potter (from TV's KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES) makes an appealing hero, even if he's not given much to do other than stand around, shout orders, and fire an M16. Alex Reid, who plays the pilot, isn't particularly convincing as a tough girl (perhaps it was the director's fault), but at least she looks nice and, like Potter, does what she can with the material. I think she would have made a much better Lara Croft than Angelina Jolie. Reid literally looked like Croft in several scenes. The rest are unknowns in stock cardboard roles: the likeable, slightly-goofy spider expert, the scientist, his assistant, Potter's partners, and a handful of native helpers who all are there to serve one purpose: spider food. Surprisingly, the mechanical effects of the spider are pretty well done for such a film, though a few moments of CGI near the climax (and at the start of the film) are a little on the cheapo side. With a few more understandable actors, a quicker pace, and some tighter direction, ARACHNID might have been at least a mildly-enjoyable time waster perfect for a dull Saturday night. I admit that I have seen worse movies, but as it is, seeing it once was enough for me.
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