Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Is that an Anaconda in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? Talk about putting the squeeze on “B” horror movies, “Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” is this summer’s fourth belated sequel (Before Sunset, The Exorcist: The Beginning, Alien Vs. Predator), and perhaps the most silly.

For some people, snakes have a built in creep factor, so just tossing them on the screen is enough to generate nightmares. Reality shows like Fear Factor continually use snakes to psych out contestants. It’s always more enjoyable to watch other people face down their fears, but there’s little enjoyment to be found in Anacondas. Formulaic, contrite, one-dimensional, audacious. The accolades just keep coming.

What distinguished the original Anaconda from this refried hash was the appearance that everyone involved knew they were making a cheesy snake movie. Even Jon Voight managed to wink at the camera, making it clear we’re not supposed to take any of this seriously. Then again, who could take seriously a giant snake film starring Jennifer Lopez?

In Anacondas, the joke seems to be on everyone. The cast wades through a cut-and-paste screenplay that is more deadly than anything in the Borneo jungle, where the action takes place. It’s there where a group of scientists and adventurers are in search of the fabled Black Orchid, a plant so rare it only blooms once every seven years and contains unfathomable medicinal and financial benefits.

Of course Greed wins out, leaving a handful of humanitarians to battle the elements, moneygrubbers, and an abundance of overgrown computer-generated snakes. No less than seven writers contributed to the script, a clear reminder that too many cooks can spoil the snake venom. What remains is a bland concoction that isn’t very scary, unless you have a fear of bad acting, bad writing and bad direction.

Director Dwight Little attempts to chop through the faux foliage, but uses a blade so dull it only makes matters worse. Instead of going for genuine thrills, Little likes to throw things at the screen. Cheap diversions are not enough to distract us from the fact that Anacondas is merely a repeat of the first film without the same sense of adventure and camp.

The good guys are too good to be true, the villains larger-than-life, and the personal conflicts as phony as the digital snakes. Funny how with each film the snakes get bigger yet the thrills get smaller.

Size Is Everything in Anacondas


Johnny Messner, Kadee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Morris Chestnut, Eugene Byrd, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Nicholas Gonzalez. Directed by Dwight Little. Rated PG-13. 93 Minutes.


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