Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid

on August 27, 2004 by Tim Cogshell
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How do you follow up a movie about a giant anaconda eating people in the wilds of the Amazon? You make a movie about a bunch of giant anacondas eating people in the wilds of Borneo. "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" is the sort of movie you used to watch on late-night creature features. It's "Tremors" meets "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," with computer-generated monsters. And, despite the fact that it's better than the original film, which starred Jon Voight, Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez, it's still a really bad B-movie. But it's a bit more conscious of the fact that it's a bad B-movie, so it goes along with it, which makes for a lot of fun and a noisy audience laughing both with and at the filmmaker's liberal use of genre clich├ęs.

On this adventure, a pharmaceutical company dispatches a team of botanical medicine hunters to Borneo to find the Blood Orchid, an ugly red flower with the potential of extending youth and life to something akin to immortality. But it only blooms once every seven years, for seven weeks, in the middle of the rainy season, and they've only got two weeks left. They hire a dubious-looking captain ("Spartan's" Johnny Messner) to take them up the river, where most everybody becomes snake chow.

There are a number of those murky under water shots where something lurks near, nipping at flailing feet; lots of bickering and sexual tension; a really cool monkey; a greedy company man; and giant snakes swallowing people whole. The CGI snakes are better here than in the original movie (their scale is more proportional and they don't glow so much), and the Dwight Little's direction is more horror-movie-oriented than "Anaconda" helmer Luis Llosa's. Little ("Halloween 4") seems to be more aware that the movie is a bit of a goof and he treats it that way. It's not camp, but it comes intentionally close. Starring Johnny Messner, KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Nicholas Gonzalez, Eugene Byrd and Morris Chestnut. Directed by Dwight H. Little. Written by Hans Bauer, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. Produced by Verna Harrah. A Screen Gems release. Adventure/Horror/Thriller. Rated PG-13 for action violence, scary images and some language. Running time: 93 min

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