Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Arachnid (2001)

... aka: Amazon
... aka: 8 Legs

Directed by:
Jack Sholder

This one kicks off on a decidedly odd note as a tunnel of water rises up from the ocean as a navy jet pilot chases down an invisible alien ship. Both crash land on a tropical island somewhere near Guam and both fall prey to a gigantic mutant spider. 10 months later, the dead guy's sarcastic sister Lauren (Alex Reid, who looks kind of like Jennifer Garner), also a pilot, gets a chance to fly a medical expedition to the same area and uses the chance to try to figure out what happened to her sibling. Also along for the trip are an asshole male doctor, a bitchy female doctor, the author of the book 'Arachnid Fun Facts,' a trio of heavily-armed macho men and some local guides who make for easy anonymous prey. While nearing their destination, there's a mysterious power failure and the plane crashes on the beach. Magnetic interference kills their chances of using the radio, and they must treck across the island to try to find some help. On the way, they pass through a nearly-empty native village, picking up a helpful sole survivor from there, and must survive attacks from a variety of big bug mutations (not just the insects of the title) that are quickly evolving into the "ultimate predator." There's also a caterpillar-like creepy crawler, something that shoots green acidic gunk that melts off flesh and some bloated ticks that crawl under one guy's skin and then out his neck in the stand-out gore scene.

The location work (it was filmed in Spain), production values, photography and acting are all above par and the special effects, which employ animatronics, model work and a little CGI, are very good. Some are by Steve Johnson and his crew. Brian Yuzna (Society) was one of the producers.


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