(The following review was contributed by Tim Walker. Tim also writes for his own blog, here.)
This film began to ring alarm bells from 30 seconds into the run-time. Because the very first thing the film shows us is a very poor quality CGI infested scene of water being drawn from the ocean, and into an semi invisible aircraft. This aircraft has presumably triggered some kind of alarm at an Air force base, because a fighter jet then appears and starts heading in its direction. Then for some insane reason, which by the way is never explained, the pilot of the jet bails out, and his plane crashes in the unknown aircraft. This leads to possibly the laziest and cheapest CGI explosion I have ever seen, it was so shoddy it looked as though a toddler with a ten year old laptop had made it, I know this film is from 2001, but there is no excuse for a complete lack of effort.
We then see the pilot of the jet fighter land safely on a tropical island, how he got there I have no clue! The entire last scene took place smack bang in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight. After the pilot un-straps his parachute, he wanders off into the jungle. He eventually finds the unknown aircraft, which also crashed on the island, as you have probably guessed this unknown aircraft is in fact alien spaceship. The pilot approaches the crashed ship, and sees an alien standing in front of it. Suddenly the alien is savagely killed by what looks like a giant spider, after seeing this, the fighter pilot seems remarkably relaxed, until he is killed by the same spider like creature. As this was the pre credit sequence, I was not really looking forward to the rest of the film, because this whole scene was absolutely terrible.
After the credits, the film cuts to a small hospital on the island of Guam. Where a man from a near by island has be admitted with strange bite marks. And because the films characters don’t know that the film they are in is called Arachnid, they have no idea what kind of creature caused them. So a doctor from the hospital decides to put together an expedition to the island that the injured man came from. The doctor hires a pilot by the name of Mercer to fly him and a small group out to the island. The group consists of; the doctor, an adventurer called Lev Valentine who is a complete dick head, and a couple of mercenaries backed by a few natives of the island. The only interesting character in the group is an entomologist who is actually pretty fun to watch, and has more charisma than all the others combined.
As the group’s plane gets closer to the island it suffers some kind of unexplained loss of power and crashes, which somehow doesn’t injure anybody on board. The plane crashes on the beach of the island, and the group begin to squabble about who is to blame. Listening to a group of people you really don’t care about auguring about something you really don’t care about is irritating, but when it’s done through poor acting and dull dialogue it makes you want to bang your head off the wall.
Eventually the group find the village the injured man came from, and surprise surprise it’s deserted, and the only signs of life are spider webs and some strange “blood ticks” that infest one of the mercenaries. After extensive wandering around being incredibly annoying the group eventually find the cause of the mysterious bites, but they wish they hadn’t.
I apologise if this review is a little vague but I am trying to reflect the attitude of the film. I have never seen a film that has as much indecisive bullshit in it as this one, throughout the course of the film I kept forgetting what exactly they were meant to be doing. And it felt as though the director and writers had the same problem. The characters feel incredibly one dimensional and dull, and the acting is sub par at very best. Although this film does have some redeeming practical effects, that actually made me laugh out loud, it suffers very badly from its indecisiveness and a general lack of effort. I am going to give this one 3/10, if you can sit though all the irritation, the effects will at very least provide some entertainment.