Syfy has put out a lot of garbage movies over the years and surprisingly, Lavalantula is not one of them. It is a genuinely entertaining film that features Steve Guttenberg in the lead role as a failing actor who suddenly becomes an unlikely hero when a volcano erupts in Los Angeles, spewing forth giant, fire-breathing tarantulas. A ridiculous premise maybe and another picture that might seem like just another giant creature/disaster flick in a long line of seemingly endless giant creature/disaster movies and yet, it ends up not only being more of the same, but much more than what you might expect.
There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour as it pokes fun at not only itself, but at other movies of the genre. Guttenberg’s character Colton West is a parody of every action hero out there who have found themselves past their prime and he does a fantastic job at it, making you not only laugh, but feel a kind of pity at times for the man, while rooting for him during others. Adding to all of this insanity are other former cast-members of the Police Academy film series including Michael Winslow who even does many of the same sound effects he did thirty years previous. On one hand, it is a little sad to see Winslow doing this, but on the other, it brings back a lot of fond memories of those past films. Even Ian Ziering makes a cameo appearance as his character Fin from the Sharknado movies, establishing a larger universe where things like volcano spiders and tornado sharks exist together.
From start to finish, the film is packed with not only the laughs, but a lot of action and some decent CGI. Yes, the spiders could have used a lot of work to look a little more credible, but they were not as awful as some of the stuff that has made its way onto the network. There is even a moment or two that is actually a little frightening which bucks the trend given these types of movies are never as scary as they are made out to be. The scene where the girl’s body essentially melts down and gives birth to hundreds of baby spiders was simply disgusting and proved that every now and then, there is something in one of these films that will surprise you.
Silly name or not, Lavalantula is highly enjoyable and has at least a little something that everyone can find some fun in. It might not be a Hollywood blockbuster, but it was good enough to warrant a sequel and who knows, it could end up being Syfy’s second biggest franchise after Sharknado.
3 out of 5