Review: ‘Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid’

Anacondas sets a light tone and delivers exactly what the audiences want but nothing more; a surprisingly entertaining yet unapologetic crowd pleaser.

Somewhere in Borneo, a rare flower called the Blood Orchid has been discovered with properties that suggest it could prolong human life, a pharmaceutical fountain of youth. It only blooms once every seven years, and for a handful of researchers that need new samples to finish their work, that time is now. Unbeknownst to them (but beknownst to us), there is something writhing out in the jungle that intends to attack and devour them when we least expect it?

There’s no secret here; Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid is about a giant snake that eats people and is wicked fast. Actually, make that several giant snakes due to a clever “s” hidden after the word “Anaconda.” While not exactly a sequel to the mediocre horror film with Jennifer Lopez and Jon Voight, this film knows who its real star is and what audiences have come to see. That said, the plot is also smartly not ABOUT the title monster, so the snakes are free to lash out against our heroes at any time but especially whenever they can get the biggest reaction. If you just want to see giant snakes eating people who talk too much and need to die because of sheer stupidity, this movie is for you.

Anacondas, you see, is a crowd pleaser, and it does its job very well. The cast is what you might call B+, too good for B movies but not yet hitting or ready to become top Hollywood box office draws. Salli Richardson-Whitfield has done numerous television shows and supported many feature films as well as provided voice work for Disney (remember “Gargoyles?”), but here they have her made up looking too much like J-Lo 2 and being victimized rather than kicking butt. Eugene Byrd is also form television and supporting feature film, but he’s cast as “nervous guy voted most likely to die of fright.” Morris Chestnut is practically a film star already, but like every one else in the cast, this film genre is beneath him but it?€™s still a paycheck.

Instead of a television network hiatus cast list, someone somewhere has managed to get a bargain list of better players, but is it enough to lend credibility to a low-budget concept and position it with a no-risk budget to make any money? Releasing low-rent thrillers on the last weekend of August has worked in the past (look up the inexplicable success of Jeepers Creepers for more information) but in this case moviegoers are in for a treat: the film isn’™t as bad as it should be and is an adequate waste of time for a large group of friends.

(a two and a half skull recommendation out of four)

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