Arachnicide (2014) [REVIEW] | Going Digital On Yo Ass

This one is a bit special to me as an italian, as it fills a niche of monster movies that basically went extinct over time: the italian b-movie made for the international market.

Yeah, as you could ascertain from the poster (and the cast list) having almost exclusively italian actors on it, this is an italian movie, and if the look of the actors didn’t give it away (i’d argue it does, at the very least it’s obvious that these are not American), the english dub ABSOLUTELY will make that clear as day, and sadly you can’t watch it in italian with english subs, not only on the UK DVD release i imported, but apparently in all english languages releases on streaming as well.

I doubt the original italian language audio would be worse than this english dub, one of the worse i’ve happened upon, so bad you’ll pine for the ones in old kung fu movies, heck, even a Godfrey Ho style dubjob would have been preferable and funnier, here it all sound droll and dull, the voices don’t seem to match the characters in any sensible way, it’s unredeemable shit all the way through.

The plot follows the L9 Commando, a task force composed of 6 the best soldiers from different Special Forces Units. After a two-pronged successful drug operation take-down, they are called upon for an important mission that brings them to Albania, only to discover it’s a trap part of a sinister plan that could fuck things up for everyone.

So, the UK or american cover-poster depicting a giant spider rampaging through a big American, NY-esque city.. it’s a total lie. The climax is an excessively dark warehouse in Albania, and i would dispute that as an half-truth as well, for reasons we’ll get to after digging a bit deeper in the “plot”.

Gotta love how it starts with a shitty ass early 90s computer game CG looking satellite that serves to transiction into two apparently unrelated events, as in 2 dudes sniping criminals, and a different group, handling another – apparently different and unrelated– operation in another place.

Don’t even bother with an opening narration by some of the commandos themselves, just show them doing shit, we’ll bother to sloppily make sense of those scenes later.

Scenes, i say, hardcore Call Of Duty LARP sessions might be the better description.

This leading to a cheap intro sequence and an unironically presented Food Of The Gods style sales pitch for super mega mutant seeds that will grow gigantic plants, but can also do that to animals.

WAIT, why is the military (just “the military”) fighting them? Because in a later scenes they say they are using these seeds and their knowledge to grow and create drugs they then sell worlwide…. a thing that wasn’t made clear in the meeting scene which should have explained that. It didn’t.

I’ll just have to take the sergeant’s word for it, that or these are some of the dumbest criminals ever, why sell drugs when they easily could dominate the agricultural market the same way legally? XD

THIS is the level of asinine and juvenile we have to work with it today, folks.

And the “commando dialogues” really hammer on the juvenile, as these dialogues seem to be written by a misoginistic 13 yo. I feel the word “cringe” it’s way overused these day, i know it is, but still, the dialogues that aren’t boring exposition dumps… are so lame and juvenile it’s not funny, it’s just embarassing, lazy and awkward, even for a low budget b-movie like this, it’s just… cringe.

Also, nothing in the plot has to do with spiders per se, they’ re not even remotely hinted at, heck, 45-50 minutes in and STILL not a single spider has even so much been shown on screen, it could have been any other kind of animal, if the title “Arachnicide” didn’t already give it away.

All the gore and kills are bottom of the barrel CG effects (those “headshots” remind one of early FPS games), just the cheapest and shittier blood CG effects the budget can afford, and those still look way better than the explosions. Some of the worst explosions effects i’ve ever seen in a decade, at the very least, and i did get a chuckle of how cheap & shit it was the effect.

Clearly most of the budget seems to have been blown in a videogame-esque CG engine, as in some scenes you can notice clearly that they just decided to use digital humans instead of the actors. I can’t make this shit up, otherwise i would have written a movie like this as well, pretty sure i would as well.

Yes, there are scenes where soldiers stroll down the woods at night… or so do their digital, robotic, jerky moving indistinct placeholder models that march in too perfect unison to even sell the effect, even at a glance, even by setting the scenes at night, and the models aren’t even distinct to be descrived as avatars of the characters.

Unbelievable.

Even the main confrontation against the spiders is done this way, just shitty looking CG spiders …. being shoot at through countless recycles of ¾ angles of the same digital soldiers models shooting, interspersed with the real actors trying to mimick the overly snappy movements of the CG models…… which is so bad it’s almost amazing to look at, to witness in motion.

This is one case where you kinda force people to say to your face that maybe, maybe you shouldn’t set out to make a movie if you don’t have the money to actually make a movie, if you’re gonna use a game engine to make even the humans digital in obvious digitally added locales with CG monsters.

Why even bother? Make a shitty Steam game instead, at this point, rework the footage you have, people love old shitty looking “FMV” ridden games. Just absolute insanity.

Actual footage of fake digital actors.

And what’s worse is that i’m not even quite sure if this due to them realizing deep in production they didn’t had enough budget to fully shoot the climax (and so did this out of “necessity”)… or is exactly as intended, as the actors are directed to move in a way to imitate the snappy fire and movement of the CG models, the latter often even being shown at an odd angle, almost like a Resident Evil 4 style camera angle… with early 90’s digital effect, like the spiders move at a framerate that brings to mind the original House Of The Dead, not helped by how choppy looking they are.

Not that it matters, as the confrontation itself it’s a mixture of people shooting way too fast, bad editing, rampant day-for-night and a location that’s way dark, meaning you won’t actually see shit most of the time anyway, so it’s a moot point to say it looks bad, you can barely tell stuff is happening only due to the digital muzzleflashes basically working as “lighting”.

I feel a bit bad for composer, as the music does try a lot to give boring montages and shit action scenes some gravitas, fully knowing it’s a lost battle to begin with, but trying its hardest to make the movie suck a bit less, even if the result it’s clearly overdone and mismatched to hell. And no ambient noise to speak of, they just overlayed the music and dub over the original audio track.

In a way, it’s essential viewing for the bad movies aficionados, the crap conneisseurs eager to witness a new low in cinema, the deeper and stranger the better. You gotta see it for your portfolio/trash list, as it’s so shockingly, embarassingly cheap and awful every way you slice it, bad enough to get some chuckles out of the viewers some of the most “Steam early access from the 90’s” looking firefights ever, some atrocious acting, laughable effects, so it avoids being completely boring, but still, it’s one of those that are a struggle to see all the way through.

Speaking of which, the ending it’s just kinda there, there’s no proper resolution to the crisis, no sense of victory, it just stops before being able to actually set up a sequel bait cliffhanger, which is kinda pathetic.

To conclude, it’s also worth noting it has an actor in it called Gino Barzacchi, which is actually kind of a forgotten professional body builder from Italy. Yes, he tried to “Schwarz” its way into the cinema business and this is actually his most recent role.

Most likely the last as well, since this is a fairly obscure movie even for b-movie buffs, before he only acted in the 2007 italian fantasy movie “Destiny Angels”, a single episode of an italian comedy-crime TV series called “Un Commissario A Roma” and his older gigs are mostly from 1976-77.

But as this movie actually exists as it is, you never know for sure.

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