Arachnid (2001)
Arachnid (2001)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.

Release Date: October 12th, 2001 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Jack Sholder Actors: Chris Potter, Alex Reid, Jose Sancho, Neus Asensi, Ravil Isyanov, Luis Lorenzo

 


 

S

ome incredibly shoddy CG effects show a stealth jet identifying a strange waterspout in the South Pacific, caused by a camouflaged UFO, leading to an explosive collision. The Navy pilot ejects at the last second, finding himself plummeting down into a dense jungle, where he’s soon able to investigate the remains of the crash – which include an alien flier and an arachnoid passenger that quickly pounces on the onlooker. Around ten months later, pilot Loren Mercer (Alex Reid) arrives in Guam to fly a group of scientists and doctors – and mercenaries – into a remote island to dig into the source of a mysterious infection that has started to plague a number of natives. It’s a necrotic paralysis that seems to originate from spider bites.

Along for the ride are World Health Doctor Samuel Leon (Jose Sancho) and his assistant Susana Gabriel (Neus Asensi), accompanied by entomologist Henry Capri (Ravil Isyanov), a squad of former Marines led by Lev Valentine (Chris Potter), and guides including local man Toe Boy (Robert Gabriel Vicencio). When the journey expectedly begins with a rough landing due to unexplainable power failures, the stranded party sets about making radio contact and salvaging the plane before heading deep into the forest to accomplish their mission. But something is clearly waiting for them, intent on turning them into prey – and it’s not just the tree-leaping, burrowing attack ticks that pose a threat.

The setup is about as generic as it can get, though at least there’s a large enough number of extras to allow for numerous deaths. And those supporting roles are typically more convincing than the leads, who are notably subpar in their line deliveries – not that there’s much to work with, considering the pitiful nature of the script. The small talk and flirting (Reid and Potter manage to lose their shirts rather rapidly) are basically uncomplicated filler material to beef up a painfully simplistic premise, while Mercer’s entire dialogue is comprised of disgusted outbursts and insults and bellyaching – she rarely does much beyond grimacing. Ultimately, characters merely move from one end of the island to the other, struggling not to die at the hands of mutant monstrosities (it steals much of its plotting from “Predator” and numerous ideas from “Arachnophobia” and “Starship Troopers”).

Interestingly, those monsters are primarily visualized through practical effects; low-budget computer graphics pop up intermittently, but many sequences boast grotesque puppets and other goopy props, which look decent despite their stiff movements. A couple of the sets aren’t too shabby either. Sadly, however, the attacks are too few and far between, leaving plenty of downtime for the characters to wander about and chat, yet still failing to develop roles to the point of caring whether or not they survive. Like countless other slasher-type films, the humans aren’t as easy to root for as the bloodthirsty antagonist(s) – especially considering that they’re perpetually unprepared, unaware, unobservant, and slow. By the end, “Arachnid” is mostly unoriginal and uninspired, but it isn’t always a visual disappointment, managing a few moments of icky fun.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10