Film Review : Lavalantula

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The spiders look good still, but in motion feel completely strange

What do you get when you reunited part of the Police Academy team and pop them in the next send up monster movie series from the minds of Sharknado? That’s right – Lavalantula!

Released : 2015

Runtime : 1 hr 23 mins

Premise

Getting an 80’s actor in real life to play a 90’s has been in the movie and then get him to fight lava spewing spiders in the most campy way possible? Job done!

The Disasters Faced

Lava, spiders, lavalantulas, a bad script, terrible CGI, a lot of puns, bombs that don’t go off, spider egg hatchings and the problem of people running in straight lines instead of ever stepping to the side to avoid things!

The Execution

Coming from the people whom made Sharknado, which has arguably outstayed its welcome now, Lavalantula feels like the new mix up that SyFy needed for the cult classic mokumonster send ups. This time, actual big stars (4 people from Police Academy) including Steve Guttenberg at the helm, have all signed up to be part of the meta story line. This is that Guttenberg is playing a fallen from grace actor who hasn’t seen how low he has fallen yet. The whole send up is really well done and the script is so perfectly clunky, it actually enhances the whole experience. Whilst the rest of the movie hands off the genius premise of lava spewing giant spiders, it’s mostly familiar SyFy fair as they pump out so many. However the acting and the “we know you all had a blast together in the 80’s” vibe really works to every level of the film and its funny and endearing at the same time. It’s tight run-time means action is never far away and as SyFy has been doing better of late, there’s more going on, even if it is all budget CGI. Pacey, funny and silly – it’s a great popcorn brain off movie.

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Some of the best segments are when these three are reunited

The Effects

Whilst, some of the still shots are passable, the spiders themselves do not feel part of the environment at all and lack any kind of detail. The lava is bad too although a mini shout out for a couple of the make up effects of injuries which look good.

Why It’s Worth Watching

The cast. The way they interact, its like part of the script is improvised. Of course, if you’re a Sharknado fan, there’s plenty of fun to be had here too as the apple falls directly down from the tree. However with this film, they know they’re going full on comedy horror and that committal makes this film possibly even better than Sharknado. I think that statement will help you decide if you’ll like this film or not! Nia Peeples spends most of the movie on her own but has some great one liners too and deserves a special mention for toughing it out alone!

Drinking Game

Stupid people dying stupidly on-screen by standing still and screaming or just running in a straight line from something chasing them or rolling towards them…. or each inserted news report. There’s too many, clearly they paid to be in the movie. It’s the one downside to this movie – it has so many news reports for no real reason – it stinks of commercial buy ins but without the subtlty to make it less obtrusive.

Weirdest Moment

Strangely, not Michael Winslow’s amazing vocal abilities. Throughout the entire film, everyone in the background is in costumes from films, but it’s never explained why. So we have a Pirate Jack character for a while, and lots of badly dressed superheros being killed in style. But why?!?

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Why is he dressed as a pirate? No idea!

Favourite Character

Gotta be Marty – those voice effects he can do are fabulous!

Random Trivia

Steve Guttenberg accepted the role here, because he turned down the lead role for Sharknado! I bet he regretted that in a hurry!

Conclusion

Irrelevant, stupid but damn right entertaining in it’s all badly made but beautifully acted gusto – Lavalantula is a cult classic that deserves some love. I hope that its sequels (there’s already been one, but the first one only arrived in the UK this month) don’t jump the shark too much ala Sharknado and they keep it in the Tremors style route – but this one is a blast. Well done all.

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