On a medical expedition to a remote and seemingly uninhabited South American island, a team of researchers and their guides finds itself stranded when the plane loses power and crashes. That’s the least of the travelers’ troubles, as they’re soon deluged by giant, acid-spitting spiders — yes, that’s spiders, plural, despite Arachnid‘s singular title — and the occasional toxin-filled tick.
These sorry saps include a spider researcher who practically orgasms as he’s covered in webbing spewed by one of the aforementioned mutated creatures, a doctor (Pedro Almodóvar regular José Sancho, Live Flesh) with a Spanish accent so theeck that you may need to enable subtitles to understand him, a quiet native who shoots poisonous darts through a blowgun, and an all-American tough guy (The Pacifier’s Chris Potter, who appears to have studied for this role solely by watching Mark Harmon’s old Coors commercials).
Lastly, there’s the female pilot. (Get it? Women can’t drive! Hee-haw!) Played by Alex Reid of The Descent, she has to remove her shirt when she gets webbing all over it, which is hardly an original creative decision on the part of once-reliable director Jack Sholder (The Hidden), yet you may not complain …
… because there is plenty left to complain about, including what sounds like constant electric sawing in the background of Arachnid’s early jungle scenes. Even that’s minor compared to the spiders — the movie’s reason for existing, mind you — which look thoroughly ridiculous and penny-ante, but at least they are not CGI. Everything you think will happen, does, right down to an ending that cries out, “Arachnid 2: The Arachining, here we come!” It’s not often we witness something with eight legs stumble so demonstratively. —Rod Lott