Movie Review: Lavalantula (2015)

Synopsis: When a series of ancient volcanoes erupt in the Santa Monica Mountains, a hoard of giant, lava-spewing spiders are released and begin to terrorize Los Angeles. It's up to washed-up action movie star, Colton West, to save the day.

Who's in it? The movie stars Steve GuttenbergNia PeeplesPatrick RennaNoah Hunt and Michael Winslow.

Review: I came across this movie on YouTube TV a couple days ago and, while I thought it sounded a bit dumb, I was also intrigued enough to add it to my library. I wound up selecting it last night and, while my expectations were admittedly lowered, this film more than exceeded them.

The thing I found I liked about this movie is it didn't take itself too seriously but, at the same time, also pretended it wasn't a comedy. The end result was a film that was funny/quirky but also managed to be an entertaining action film featuring what looked to be an unstoppable army of fire breathing arachnids.

I was also surprised to find the film wasn't as predictable as I was expecting it to be. Characters I thought would make it until the very end of the movie were killed off in somewhat gruesome ways (but not too gruesome) and I wasn't sure if it would end with Colton West (Guttenberg) and his family simply escaping Los Angeles or finding a way to fight the monster spiders.

I didn't catch this until a couple hours after watching the movie, but, along with Guttenberg, the film also cleverly features a lot of the same actors/actresses that were in the Police Academy movies and even managed to put Michael Winslow in a position where he could do the sound effects that made him famous in those films. I am assuming that is by design because that would be an awfully big coincidence.

Probably my only real complaint about the film is the special effects are kind of crappy, relying heavily on CGI to do everything from creating the spiders to simulating damage on vehicles and buildings. However, considering this was a made-for-TV film that likely had a lower budget, I'm willing to give that a pass and just pretend the insects and damage were real.

Final Opinion: I wasn't expecting much from this film but it turned out to be a surprisingly good movie. My wife and I have already made a date to watch the sequel.

My Grade: A-


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