“Arachnid,” the sophomore project of Fantastic Factory — set up by American director Brian Yuzna and Spanish producer Julio Fernandez to make genre horror pics — is efficient scare fare that runs through the rule book without ever igniting. Despite combining elements from “Jurassic Park” and “Alien,” terrific production values and a sense of commitment to such enjoyable schlock, pic’s excellent f/x doesn’t get needed support from plot and character development and is undermined by a total lack of humor — surprising, given that helmer Jack Sholder made “Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2” back in the mid-’80s. Spanish B.O. has been disappointing, and, though the package has sold well offshore, ancillary and tube sales are its safest bet.
When the brother of sexy female pilot Mercer (Alex Reid) crashes his plane over a South Pacific island and goes missing, Mercer vows to find him. Among the stereotypes who travel with her are hunky, gun-toting adventurer Valentine (Chris Potter), aggressive Dr. Leon (Pepe Sancho), attractive, brainy Susana (Neus Asensi) and bespectacled Capri (Ravil Isyanov), there to investigate a lethal virus which has wiped out the local population.
The group gets caught in oversized, industrial-strength spiders’ webs, makes ill-advised forays into giant underground tunnels and finds huge sacks of arachnid eggs. Starting with the least popular character, they’re killed off one by one and, just before they’re all dead, they meet the Big One itself, against which Mercer is still vowing revenge.
Perfs are suitably gung-ho, effects are imaginative — particularly after the big crawlies appear — and jungle atmospherics are spot-on. Pic was shot in Mexico.