by Jason D. Grooms
When I say “New Orleans” and “disaster” what comes to mind? Hurricane? Flooding? Levies breaking? Giant tidal surge? Katrina? Not this time mon cheri. This time it’s something worse. Something way worse. It’s Arachnoquake. I bet you didn’t think of an earthquake that unleashes giant, fire-breathing dungeon spiders did you?! You heard me. Fire breathing spiders! The kind that’ll lay an egg in your neck as soon as look at you. The kind that’ll suck your eyeball out if you threaten to call the exterminator. The kind that can light up the Louisiana swamp with a deep breath and a bad attitude. We’re talking world enders here. Well…city enders anyway.
It all starts with a seemingly harmless earthquake that rocks Louisiana in the middle of the night which opens up a crack in the earth not far from a chicken farm. When workers from the farm head into the woods to investigate what might have killed some of their chickens that same night, they get more than they
bargained for – eight times more.
From the crack in the earth has risen a previously unknown species of spider intent on killing everything in sight and taking over New Orleans. It’s an unknown species because Carol Seaver (Tracey Gold) from Growing Pains told us it was. Well, not quite Carol. In Arachnoquake Tracey plays an 8th-grade science teacher named Katelynn and she told us so.
Katelynn: Did you see those things? This is definitely a brand new species.
Paul: Yah? Maybe they’ll name it after you.
Katelynn: You don’t get it. I have a Masters in zoology and I have never even heard of this.
Paul: You must be a big hit with the 8th-graders.
Zing! Paul, played by Bug Hall (Yes, I said Bug Hall and I’m sure he’s NEVER been teased about that) is a trouble-maker slash party-animal tour guide trying to help his dad with the family tour business. A small band of tourist, who’ve come to New Orleans to see the sights, get wrapped up in the disaster with Paul and his giant trolley as they try to navigate the deadly streets and get out alive.
Katelynn: They’re coming! They’re coming!
Gramps: Jumbo spiders, some as big as dwarfs!
Clerk: Jumbo dwarfs?
Two side stories play out including that of Charlie, the father of two of the tourists on the trolley. Charlie is played by
none other than the Edward Furlong (John Conner from T2!). He’s driving his gang of 20-something sex-pit softball players to a tournament when their bus is attacked by the very same white-webbed demons that are overrunning the Big Easy. Charlie has to win the trophy for Most Creepy Coach but he is supportive. After one of his players bats away a jumping spider into a high flying home run he yells, “Yes! And that’s why you’re my most valuable pinch hitter!” The hardest part about accepting Edward Furlong as the father of two 18-year-olds is that he’s old enough to have two 18-year-olds. He still looks like John Connor to me.
The other side story involves Paul’s dad (played by the amazing Ethan Phillips from Benson, Glory and Star Trek: Voyager) who finds it hard to believe that his son isn’t the cause of all of this and whose WWII grit keeps him alive…for a while.
As it turns out, all of the spiders our heroes have been fighting off are merely workers in a giant spider colony. When they finally decide to go after the queen, that’s when all hell really breaks loose. I won’t give away the final and exciting conclusion but I will say that one of the best shots in the whole movie is of Paul wearing deep-sea-diving gear, shooting a shotgun and big mama from at least 2 miles away. Give ’em hell Paul!
While the spiders do come across as a little robotic, they more than make up for it with fire breathing and with some
more-than-adequate CGI. It’s a really fun flick with some great one-liners. This movie doesn’t disappoint in the cheese factor and has some great death scenes. Of note is the fantastic homage to Samuel L. Jackson’s famous speech in Deep Blue Sea. I won’t give it away, but if you’ve seen Sammy’s scene you’ll see this one coming 3 miles away.
Sit back, relax, and watch as a bunch of albino, echo-locating fire-breathing cave-dwelling prehistoric spiders take their revenge on a city that doesn’t already have enough damage. In the end I’d put
this movie on any night of the week, although I may carry a can of spider spray in my car from now on, just to be sure.
Arachnoquake (2012) Trailer
*Full disclosure – I received a free prescreener of this movie from Space. However I guarantee that had no affect my review or thoughts on the film.