The only true aspect of this movie is that it’s in the vein of Sharknado, the movie’s only goal is to entertain, nothing else, a Syfy original movie with a mindset to go all out for the sheer lunacy to enjoy the moment, filled with pandemonium and released by The Asylum studio. Mike Mendez serves as the director, and yes the same man that unleashed Big Ass Spider (2013), so one knows he understands CGI spiders, and ready to tackle the b-movie genre with gusto, as earthquakes in California (no surprise) unleash human sized molten lava living and breathing spiders. Now one must check their serious horror intentions at the door to enjoy this flick filled with endless cameos.
Steve Guttenberg serves as the hero of the movie, who portrays a 1990s icon named Colin West, an action star whose career mirrors that of a Bruce Willis, and now a down and out actor, with mounting legal and image problems, family issues into the mix, and needs a big break to go his way. His character perhaps a little insight into his own career, of the choice roles, box hits now duds and misfires, reduced to direct DVD movies and made–for-television creations, the Hollywood fame rusting away. Hello, Spiders, and obtaining his trusty shotgun and countless shells, makes some think of Bruce Campbell and then of Ian Zering (who makes an appearance in the film, referencing his own troubles of Sharknado 3). The entire production has a fun feel to it and never takes itself seriously, the perfect lines of stupidity and inane actions of d-list actors, and partial reuniting of Police Academy (1984). Those among of the reunification of the squad, all taking strides to make a better movie, the tremendously talented and horror fan favorite Leslie Easterbrook, Michael Winslow (and the noise making mouth), Marion Ramsey and of course Steve. The movie directs itself more to the 30-year-old market than to the teenagers, but is overall the entire flick works for understandable reasons, insanity on the screen is fun sometimes. Providing in the content, all the require b-movie television items, goofy dialogue, insane characters, a monster or creatures, a scientist or doctor with knowledge of the beast and how to stop them yes to them all! Thereby, granting a charming and yet disturbing horrible film, that hands out tons of action, and that includes a Tremors (1990) reference to Burt Gummer, but involves Nia Peeples as Olivia West, definitely listen for this clever line. Included into the film, for extra measure everyone that comes into contact with Steve believes it is all part of another action film, such as the tourist bus featuring mostly non English tourists, clamoring for more attention and star gazing than listening to his insane ramblings of giant spiders. One must note the role of Chris (Patrick Renna, Dark Ride (2006)) who collaborates with Steve for part of the film as a trusted sidekick.
Lavalantula nails every box, and has spiders looking well, much better than Arachnoquake (2012), another Syfy production, missed it, no problem it will be on again, and again, overlook it, didn’t miss much, however this latest spider movie proves just bad enough to be very good. There no practical effects everything is computer generated and yet looks clean and nicely mocked up in post, with care to the final product.
Syfy’s creation of a senseless horror movie like this lightens the entire genre to laughable level movies and doesn’t always need over the top gore or deep in thought provoking exercises to delve in the human psyche. A laugh is as good as a scream, after all that is what occurs after the jolt, everyone smiles and laughs, the directors of many movies talk about it, the excitement of terror is just one aspect of the process, and this is no different. In fact, with Sharknado and Lavalantula, drinking games exist for them, heightening the fun level even more ridiculous. Syfy announced that a sequel got the greenlight, with Steve returning, and likely more the Police Academy troop too, tentatively entitled 2 Lava 2 Lantula! for a 2016 summer movie, to coincide with Sharknado 4.
This review was originally published on the Rouge Cinema site in September of 2015 with 1,666 views.
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10