Anacondas: The Hunt For The 
Blood Orchid

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid

***

Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

No one really wanted, or asked for, a sequel to the seriously stupid 1997 creature feature Anaconda. But it was a hit (somehow) and you know how studios are when it comes to milking something for all it's worth - yes, Halloween 9 is currently in pre-production!

Surprisingly, Anacondas is actually quite good for what it is.

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Originally meant to be a direct-to-video production, Sony was so impressed with the dailies that it more than doubled the budget and elevated it to a theatrical release. The budget constraints still cramp its style, compared to A-list studio stuff, but it's the best film it possibly can be.

With a touch more plot, involving a search for an ultra-mega-massively rare flower, called the Blood Orchid - that only blooms every seven years and can unlock the secret to everlasting life - there is a sophistication to the script, rather than plain old slither'n'slash.

So we have a bunch of scientists on an expedition to the unknown depths of the Borneo jungle and it's not off to a good start. They can only afford a ramshackle boat, it's the rainy season and the rivers are mighty treacherous. Also, their boat captain (Johnny Messner) is a gruff ex-Special Forces American, with the cutest pet monkey ever.

Everyone seems to be okay about their perilous quest until they are attacked by big crocs, go over a waterfall and become shipwrecked. Then, when things can't get any worse, one of them is gobbled up by - you've guessed it - an anaconda.

Instead of the traditional one-by-one deaths story, like the first film, there is more conflict and interaction. These characters may not be the best or the most well written, but the actors do what they can with what they've been given. Messner is especially good, keeping a cool head as snakes prey upon them from every shadow. J-Low-IQ, the hammy John Voight and Ice Cube may be gone (there is a quick reference to them), but fellow Boyz N The Hood alumni Morris Chestnut and E.R. star Salli Richardson are offered up as potential reptile food.

And it just so happens that it's mating season. And the snakes are all up for a big orgy. And guess where the Blood Orchids are? Right above their shagging pit. Oh bloody hell!

Luis Llosa made Anaconda in the most simplistic and static way possible. This time Dwight H. Little, the very man who gave us Halloween 4, the epic Steven Seagal movie Marked For Death and err... Free Willy 2, brings strong direction and integrity. It's a darker, more complex film that seriously promises to deliver the goods, but comes up a bit short. If it had been taken a few steps further, then it would have been great. As it is, it's more atmospheric and professional, but still, a bleaker ending, with more gobbled-up characters, would have suited me better.

The snakes themselves look okay, nothing special. Little keeps them hidden for as long as possible, only offering brief glimpses here and there. A snake is an awkward looking villain, so keeping it hidden is probably wiser. There is also, thank heavens, no dodgy animatronics.

Incredibly dumb and unnecessary it may be, but Anacondas is easy, inoffensive entertainment that will surely appeal to some part of everybody's taste.

Reviewed on: 13 Nov 2004
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Anacondas: The Hunt For The 
Blood Orchid packshot
A group of scientists encounter a hostile batch of serpents as they plunge into the jungles of Borneo on a research expedition.
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Read more Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid reviews:

David Stanners **1/2
David Haviland **

Director: Dwight H Little

Writer: John Claflin, Daniel Zelman, Michael Miner, Ed Neumeier

Starring: Johnny Messner; KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Nicholas Gonzalez, Eugene Byrd, Karl Yune, Salli Richardson, Morris Chestnut

Year: 2004

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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Anaconda