Intensive “fracking” (when the earth is blasted apart to get at valuable minerals, oil etc in voids beneath the ground) opens up the ground around New Orleans and giant, mutant, albino spiders appear, intent on killing everyone they find. They turn out to also be able to shoot flames out of their mouths.
An assortment of local tour guides, bus drivers, militia-men and military types try to stop the tide of encroaching nastiness, but they are outnumbered and generally incompetent. And yes, before you ask, this is a Syfy production.
Starring Edward Furlong and one of the aliens from Star Trek: Voyager, this was never going to be a high-brow affair. The above synopsis makes it clear that we are in silly territory, but this is so utterly incompetent a production, so joyless and witless a venture, so singularly lacking in anything resembling decent acting, photography, special effects or script-writing that the over-riding experience is an excruciating one.
The long run of “vs” titles is abandoned by Syfy here in favour of a single type of creature, but even by their standards the rendering of the beasties is cheap. The decision by the director to get the cast to play it all straight feels misjudged (certainly compared to the much wittier and self-aware Eight Legged Freaks), leaving the attempts at pathos and emotional engagement (mum’s having an asthma attack, dad’s limping through the woods and has become separated from the group, the hero looks like sacrificing himself, the heroine has been taken to their lair) laughable. We don’t care about these characters and a po-faced approach from the cast doesn’t change our outlook.
None of the cast carry any conviction in their roles and those in supporting roles are particularly guilty of looking like they haven’t the faintest idea what they are doing. For heavens sake, if you are looking way up at a giant spider and then point a bazooka at it, at least point in the same direction you’re looking. It goes without saying that you can only work with what you have, whether that means budgetary constraints or talent on both sides of the camera, but the laziness and ineptitude shown by all concerned here is annoying. When talented film makers are scratching around for funding for projects, throwing even pennies at this sort of nonsense feels profligate in the extreme.
You can probably see Arachnoquake on Syfy at some point, to save trying to track it down on DVD. If you fancy this sort of thing against my advice, on your head be it – you can get it here. Stupid and badly made.