Let “The Most Dangerous Month on TV” continue!! I don’t know how SyFy does it, but they keep cranking out the creature flicks. I’m always saying that I yearn for the carefree days of when I was younger watching UHF channel 48 in South Jersey. Every Saturday late morning to early evening this channel would play nothing but creature flicks. The first show on was always called “Creature Double Feature.” I’ve always wanted to have a channel like this for my kids to watch some fun creature flicks, and now I guess they do. The movies aren’t exactly the same but the spirit is there. And SyFy hasn’t been closer to the spirit of the old creature features than with ARACHNOQUAKE. This is a really fun flick that I had a blast watching. It’s not good “for a SyFy flick,” but it’s a good flick period (I’d even pay to see it in the theaters).
ARACHNOQUAKE is directed by Griff Furst (who often goes by the name G.E. Furst when directing) who is no stranger to SyFy. He directed LAKE PLACID 3 (my review) and the really fun SWAMP SHARK (my review) and it seems he’s getting better with each film. ARACHNOQUAKE takes the simple premise that an earthquake in Louisiana unleashes a swarm of big ass, aggressive, hungry, albino spiders that go around and make meals out of anyone they can find. But even though the set-up is very familiar, Furst and writers Paul A. Birkett (ICE TWISTERS) and Eric Forsberg (MEGA PIRANHA) don’t take ARACHNOQUAKE down the same familiar roads and load it up with the same over-used characters.
Paul (Bug Hall) is an irresponsible twenty-something caught up in the New Orleans lifestyle of partying too hard and chasing too many women. His father Roy (Ethan Phillips) owns a company that offers tours around the swamp and the city and wants nothing more than his son to prove to him that he’s ready to start running the business himself. Paul’s first tour of the day is a family that’s in town for a baseball game. The father Charlie (Edward Furlong) is the coach of a girl’s softball team and brought along his wife Katelynn (Tracey Gold) and kids Anabell and Justin (Megan Adelle and Skyy Moore, respectively) so they could see NOLA. The talk all over the radio and among the locals is the earthquake they felt the previous night, and before you can say, “What the hell is that coming outta the ground,” these ancient, albino spiders that grow remarkably fast start jumping on and killing any and every living thing. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I like a film to have a certain amount of energy in it. There are times when the “slow burn” approach works in a film (THE WOMAN comes immediately to mind), but for a giant creature flick to work it needs to be fast-paced, fun, and not take itself too serious. ARACHNOQUAKE covers all these bases. What start off as little spiders that incubate in living tissue (i.e., human beings) and then burst out when they get bigger, grow to sizes larger than most hybrid cars!!
Yes, the spiders are pretty creepy looking, but remember that I hate spiders. I mean I really fucking hate spiders, so you may not be as freaked out by these creepy-crawly’s as much as I was. But they are big, can move fast, and can jump even faster. Oh yeah; did I mention they’re fast swimmers and can breathe fire?? Well they do. But nothing here is meant to be taken seriously, once again you can tell that director Furst and the cast had a really fun time making this one. This may start off as a fairly standard “spider invasion” flick, but by the end ARACHNOQUAKE becomes a full-blown giant creature feature!! Just wait until the queen spider appears; this’ll take you back to the good old day’s of the Creature Feature.
What I really enjoyed is that the standard characters we usually get in these films were absent. There was no love interest going on between any of the characters, no odd love triangle, and there weren’t your typical ‘expert,’ soldier, and scientist running around. The closest we get to an ‘expert’ here is Katelynn (Tracey Gold’s character). Katelynn is an eighth grade biology teacher who has a Master’s degree in zoology. She has just enough knowledge to progress the plot, but isn’t a know-it-all who knows how to destroy the spiders.
There’s not much more I can say about ARACHNOQUAKE. I really enjoyed this one and was really surprised how it grabbed me. All the characters are likable, the dynamic between them all is different than we’re used to seeing, and everyone looks like they were having a blast making this film. And just wait until the final act when ARACHNOQUAKE smashes its way into 1950‘s-giant creature territory!! The final act is a ton of fun and the solution Paul comes up with to destroy the beast will have you gagging. SyFy needs to keep G.E. Furst on the payroll and get him to direct more of their films. Furst “gets it” when it comes to these films. And Eric Forsberg really needs to write more scripts for SyFy. Forsberg follows up MEGA PIRANHA with ARACHNOQUAKE … two back-to-back home runs!! Don’t miss ARACHNOQUAKE, which is premiering on SyFy on Saturday, June 23 at 9pm ET/PT.
Director: G.E. Furst
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Gore: 3 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer