Arachnid (2001)

Arachnid (2001)

It’s coming from another world… TO STAY!

A group of scientists and their military escort travel to a village in the middle of a remote island to find the source of a new virus which has killed numerous people. When they arrive there, they come face-to-face with a giant spider.

 

To say that it is timid is quite an understatement and you will probably find more menace from tiny money spiders than you will in this monster flick. Arachnid came out in the shadow of big budget spider fest Eight Legged Freaks, no doubt as a quick cash-in on the public’s sudden need to get their fix of giant spiders. But Ellory Elkayem’s cheese fest will no doubt remain in the conscience for a lot longer than Arachnid will, destined to fade into the bargain bins at charity shops all over the world.

Arachnid is the sort of film which is immediately forgettable. If I didn’t write a review within an hour after watching, I’d have completely forgotten what happened, who the characters were and what I would talk about. Director Jack Sholder has made a few genre films in the past (most notably A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) but it seems like he’s learned nothing since his earlier outings, keeping everything as sedate as possible. Arachnid isn’t terrible by all counts but it is so ordinary and pedestrian that it’s hard to think of any set piece or moment which really gets the pulse going. It doesn’t help the film that the group doesn’t even get near the spider throughout the first half of the film. There is a lot of talking, trekking through the jungle and then they meet some killer centipedes and bugs which bury inside the skin and then burst out (ala Alien). It’s a good way to kill off half of the running time before getting to the film’s main story. The spider seems to be more content lurking in the background.

When the film does eventually come around to the spider, it doesn’t look that bad for the most part but tends to differ in quality as the shots change from mechanical spiders to CGI and even some stop-motion if I believe my eyes. The mechanical spider moments do at least give the film an old school 50s vibe so it was appreciated. Unfortunately, the spider doesn’t actually do much barring kill off a few of the characters in some pretty lousy death scenes. There is some blood but this mainly comes during the bug scene as previously mentioned (arguably the best death of the film and the spider was nowhere to be seen).

There is quite a big cast of characters to boost up the body count and they’re all throwaway, one-dimensional cut-outs. The usual array of characters shows up: the character with a hidden past; obligatory geeky scientist guy; primitive native guides; the male hero who wields a gun and what would a horror film be without a token black guy. The only thing missing is a slimy villain which is a surprise turn of events for a genre film like this – you know, someone who comes along and then suddenly turns against the rest of the cast during the film for whatever reason (usually because they want to preserve the creature for scientific or financial gain) before being devoured by the *insert monster here* in a ‘get their comeuppance’ moment. Alex Reid does her best Lara Croft impression in a carbon copy costume but there’s no real spunk from any of the cast who all seem more worried about where their next pay cheque is coming from as opposed to the quality of the script.

 

Arachnid is a cheap and lacklustre giant spider flick, ultimately indistinguishable from the next spider flick and where the only bite is the amount it’ll gorge from your wallet.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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