Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Guardians Of The Tomb (2018) - Movie Review features are relatively easy stories to get right. Mainly, because there isn’t much to get right in the first place. Either make a giant-sized version of a regular creature like a snake or a shark, or let the imagination run wild and create a whole new species like with Tremors. Add some likeable characters and a basic plot to make the two meet, and there you go; job done. Of course, as is the case with any sub-genre, there is always room for error and in the age where Sharknado is a thing, the worst thing a creature feature can do is be dull. No points for guessing how this one turns out.

The cast list here feel like a refuse pile for Western actors that no-one else wants to deal with, and the results mirror that. Kellan 'Hercules not even in name only' Lutz, Kelsey 'Transformers 4 killed my career' Grammer and Shane 'Stop reminding us that Kenny happened' Jacobson are astoundingly wooden in all regards, not even being able to get across that they want anything to do with this production. The inclusion of Li Bingbing, a fast-growing B-movie staple (even the main message here about search-and-rescue operatives is near-identical to The Meg), helps to ease things a little but there’s only so much that can be done with a production this lacklustre.

So, the monster this time around is the funnel-web spider, one in a long line of creatures that has made Australia globally-known as the country that wants humans to die painfully. They’re pretty friggin’ creepy all on their own, even considering the common human fear of spiders, but here, they’ve been upgraded. Through ancient genetic engineering, they have heightened intelligence, developed a pack mentality in how they hunt, and there’s even a few larger varieties that show up every so often. It sounds like a decent idea, even if it’s paired with the same 'brave certain death for the chance at eternal life' narrative that went into Anaconda: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid, until it becomes clear that nothing is being done with them.

There’s a distinct lack of creativity here, with only Roc Chen’s musical contributions giving the impression that actual effort went into this thing. The bulk of the film’s source of dread comes out of the characters being careful not to step on what are essentially spider web trip wires, and that getting bitten will result in death and possible madness beforehand. Basically, the same consequence of running into these things regardless of the pseudo-sci-fi makeover.

Where there should be whacked-out shit like giant menacing spiders, or maybe even a swarm hiding inside a human corpse and walking around with it, there’s just a paint-by-numbers spelunking story. One that is made even more painful by the groan-inducing quips courtesy of Jacobson’s character, showing a base level of genre-savviness that should indicate that these writers should know better than serve something this bland.

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