You know what is fun to watch on a Sunday? Football. You know what else is fun to watch on a Sunday? A Syfy original movie. Today’s movie is my most recent movie to obtain (again, I pre-ordered it so it doesn’t count). See, back in July, Syfy did had there “Sharknado” week to coincide with the debut of the latest Sharknado movie. During that week, there were also the premier of a couple of other new shark related movies, but they also snuck in this little gem. Now, there was a link between this movie and the shark theme due to a cameo in the movie but even if there wasn’t, I still would have watched Lavalantula just for the cast alone.
The plot: Aging action star Colton West is shooting scenes for his latest movie when a malfunction occurs on set. Fed up with being there four hours later than he was scheduled, Colton leaves the set, with the director saying he is fired. Stuck in traffic on the way home, Colton finds himself being yelled at by both his agent, Arni, and his wife, Olivia, when a sudden tremor occurs, followed by a nearby mountain erupting, sending flaming debris hurtling onto the freeway. Colton runs from his car before it explodes, but sees a giant spider emerging from a nearby car, and he is forced to run again, with the spider chasing after him. As more spiders emerge and begin to attack the motorists, Colton gets in an abandoned car and makes his way off of the freeway. Colton makes his way home and begins packing a suitcase, while trying to explain to Olivia what is happeneing and that they have to leave. At first she thinks he is drunk but when he grabs a shotgun, she starts to believe him and agrees to stay at home while he goes to get their son Wyatt. Downtown, Wyatt and his friends are riding their bikes when they see the eruption and decide to go check it out. Meanwhile, Colton finds his way blocked by a lava-filled hole and the heat from the street causes the car’s tires to explode so he is forced to go on foot. Back at the house, Olivia calls her friend Doris to check on her but when Doris places Olivia on hold to check on her dog, she is killed by a spider. Back in the city, Wyatt and his friends find a hole in the ground but when another tremor occurs and one of their friends gets dragged into the hole, they all ride off, being chased by the spiders. Colton tries to get someone to stop and give him a ride but when nobody does, he manages to get a tour bus to stop and distracts the driver long enough for him to steal the bus. Wyatt and his friends manage to find shelter in a warehouse, but Travis’ arm is burnt from one of the spiders flame bursts and Jordan’s leg is injured where one of them bit her. Back on the bus, Chris, Colton’s biggest fan, approaches Colton and wonders if they are on a hidden reality show, but when the bus is attacked by two spiders, Colton manages to kill them and save all of the passengers. Meanwhile, Olivia had gone to check on Doris and finds two spiders feeding on her body. She runs back to her house but one of the spiders follows her and she begins grabbing the various weapons from her movies to use against it, finally shooting it with a shotgun. Back on the bus, the blood from the spider Colton ran over begins to eat away at the bus so Colton pulls into an alley and gets everyone off the bus before it explodes. When another tremor occurs in downtown L.A., Colton and Chris try to get everyone off the street and into shelter before they manage to get a rode from Pirate Jack, a former stuntman for Colton. They wind up trapped when the La Brea Tar Pits begin to catch fire as well as lavalantulas begin to emerge. They take shelter in the nearby museum, where they meet Dr. Erik Von Struebel, who explains why the lavalantulas are attacking the city. Meanwhile, Olivia is being evacuated by the army but when the truck is attacked by the lavalantulas, she is the only survivor and drives off in the truck to save her family. Back at the warehouse, Jordan is getting worse as they are being chased by one of the lavalantulas but Wyatt uses a fire extinguisher to kill it. As they head up towards the roof, Jordan suddenly starts to spasm and collapse onto the ground and suddenly, hundreds of baby lavalantulas burst from her body, swarming over Travis and killing him. Wyatt manages to make it to the roof, where he is able to text his dad and tell him where he is. At the museum, Colton receives the text but he and the others are forced to run when the lavalantulas break in, killing Pirate Jack in the process. A helicopter shows up and Colton has Chris and Dr. Erik board the chopper while he goes to find Wyatt. He is soon picked up by Olivia and together they go to save Wyatt, and when he tells them how the nitrogen fire extinguisher saved him, Colton gets an idea. He heads back to the studio, where he meets his friends Teddie and Marty and, using the map of the spiders lair, he makes his plan to lure out the queen and kill it. Strapping C-4 to some liquid nitrogen canisters, they begin throwing the canisters into the open craters and setting them off, causing the queen to emerge onto the street. Colt, wearing his old Red Rocket outfit, uses the costume’s jetpack to stay out of the queen’s reach, enabling him to drop the last explosive inside the queen’s mouth, killing the giant spider. As Olivia, Wyatt, Teddie, and Marty all congratulate Colton, a news reporter tells the audience that the threat is over and that they owe it all to Colton West.
It might not have quite the social media frenzy that Sharknado has, but I think Syfy has another hit on their hands. This was an incredibly funny movie. The acting was really good among all of the stars, particularly Steve Guttenberg (Colton) and Nia Peeples (Olivia). It was also funny to see some of the stars of the Police Academy movies together again. I can’t really say the plot was 100% original but the writing was really good and there was a lot of humor thrown in during the downtown scenes that parodied several different movies, plus there was the funny cameo/link with Sharknado when Colton runs into Ian Ziering. As for the special effects, they were surprisingly good for a Syfy original movie. Time will tell if this is the next big franchise for Syfy, but they did get off to a good start.
Rating: 4 out of 5