Director – G.E. Furst, Screenplay – Paul A. Birkett, Story – Eric Forsberg, Producers – Ken Badish & Daniel Lewis, Photography – Lorenzo Senatore, Music – Andrew Morgan Smith, Visual Effects – Dilated Pixels & Sweet Post Productions, Special Effects Supervisor – Mark Hava, Production Design – Billy Jett. Production Company – Active Entertainment/Syfy.
Bug Hall (Paul), Edward Furlong (Charlie Brackwell), Tracey Gold (Katelynn Backwell), Ethan Phillips (Roy), Olivia Hardt (Petra), Grant James (Gramps), Lucky Johnson (Glenn), Gralen Banks (Major Crandle), Dane Rhodes (Jean Jacques), Skyy Moore (Justin), Megan Adelle (Annabel Brackwell), Tiara Gathright (Tina), Earl Maddox (Roux), Ned Yousef (Guillaume), Samantha Smith (Tammy Crandle)
Paul drives a New Orleans tour bus for his father but prefers to spend his time partying. He sets out on a tour with half-hearted interest only to find the street ahead has been torn apart by an earthquake. Spiders that are the size of dogs and larger and can breathe fire start pouring out of the crevice. As the city is overrun by the giant spiders, the party seek refuge inside the tour bus and Paul tries to get them to safety. Aboard the bus is Katelynn and her two teenage children. Elsewhere Katelynn’s husband Charlie is driving a bus transporting a team of cheerleaders when they break down on a country road and the bus is surrounded by spiders.
Arachnoquake is one of the low-budget monster movies produced for the Syfy Channel that have become legion throughout the 2000s/10s. The production company Active Entertainment has churned out a great many of these with the likes of Hammerhead (2005), Larva (2005), Mansquito (2005), The Snake King (2005), The Black Hole (2006), Attack of the Gryphon (2007), Headless Horseman (2007), Flu Bird Horror (2008), Ghouls (2008), Chrome Angels (2009), Wolvesbayne (2009), Maskerade (2011), Storm War (2011), Alien Tornado (2012), Bering Sea Beast (2013), Ghost Shark (2013), Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators (2013), Snakehead Swamp (2014), Zombie Shark (2015), Ozark Sharks (2016) and Santa Jaws (2018).
Arachnoquake is typical fare for the low-budget Syfy monster movie. That said, it is not unentertainingly so. It wheels all the formula into place – the emergence of a horde of CGI-created creatures; the assortment of characters caught in the midst; various schemes to be rid of the menace. There is the requisite casting of stars who had some semblance of a career over two decades ago but having been languishing in career backwaters since then – in this case, Tracey Gold, once the sister in tv’s Growing Pains (1985-92), as an asthmatic mother and Edward Furlong as her husband (where Furlong still looks baby-faced and under the age of thirty despite being 35 at the time of the film and his character being given two teenage children).
Certainly, the effects are better than one usually gets in the entries from The Asylum and other B-budget companies mining this same vein. The film keeps itself remarkably restrained in the seriousness department – mindedly, it came out a year before Sharknado (2013), which pushed the low-budget monster movie towards the arena of the wilfully ridiculous. There are some absurdly entertaining scenes with giant spiders swimming after boats and the like. Indeed, the film delivers exactly what you expect of it and, as such, proves perfectly entertaining.
G.E. (or Griff) Furst is better known as an actor. He has appeared in everything from Boa vs Python (2004), a number of films for The Asylum and Active Entertainment, as well as parts in more respectable studio films like Green Lantern (2011), Battleship (2012), Self/less (2015), Terminator Genisys (2015), The Founder (2016) and The Magnificent Seven (2016). He has directed several films, including I Am Omega (2007), Universal Soldiers (2007) and 100 Million BC (2008) for The Asylum, Maskerade, Ghost Shark and Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators for Active Entertainment, and 30 Days to Die (2009), Lake Placid 3 (2010), Swamp Shark (2011), Starve (2014), Cold Moon (2016), Trailer Park Shark (2017) and Nightmare Shark (2018) for other companies.