The Movie Waffler Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - ANACONDA | The Movie Waffler

Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - ANACONDA

anaconda review
A film crew is picked off one by one by the world's deadliest snake.

Review by Michael Vaughn

Directed by: Luis Llosa

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson, Jonathan Hyde

anaconda blu-ray

The year was 1997 - folk princess Jewel was topping the charts; a controversial show called South Park first aired, enraging many parents; and a giant killer snake movie slithered into our hearts.

Over two decades later, despite its flaws, Anaconda remains a guilty pleasure among casual viewers and die-hard cine fans alike.

anaconda review

A nature documentary crew - led by Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) and Dr. Steven Cale (Eric Stoltz), with a colourful crew including Danny Rich (Ice Cube), a friend of Terri’s - sets out to document a lost tribe. However, the crew find themselves taken hostage by a madman (played to the hilt by Jon Voight) who wants to capture a legendary giant…you guessed it... Anaconda. But this anaconda doesn’t want buns hon, it wants live warm prey. Can the motley crew survive mother nature at its fiercest?

Let me say this up-front - Anaconda is not what you`d call a great movie and it has a host of problems (mainly its script and some dated CGI), but damn is it an enjoyable camp classic. And in my mind, one of my favourites from a very interesting decade in cinema.

anaconda review

The film plays up its monster movie era roots and walks a line between earnest and having a laugh at its own expense. Director Luis Llosa knows exactly what the movie is and doesn’t try to complicate the material. He clearly knows this isn’t art, it’s a studio popcorn movie. But it also has some clever things going for it.  For example, the addition of a villain outside of the snake is pretty ingenious and only adds to the plot, which again isn’t exactly original.

And speaking of baddies, let's take a moment and talk about Voight chewing all the scenery he could get his hands on as Paul Serone, with a wonderfully bad accent, which sounds a lot like Tommy Wiseau. While we are on the subject, the cast is another aspect of this film that I quite enjoy. Besides not being a huge Lopez fan, I enjoyed the assorted mix of stars, character actors and…Ice Cube? Watching this seemingly mismatched cast work together is pretty entertaining.

anaconda review

The snake itself is a mixture of CGI and practical effects and obviously the CG does not hold up, but thankfully a lot of the effects were done live on set. For a movie that is just under 90 minutes, the film clips along at a nice pace and always delivers what it promises - a giant snake, movie stars being killed and not one but two musicians turned big Hollywood players.

If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s a lot of fun despite it having some plot holes and dodgy effects. I admit I have not seen the sequels but it's hard to imagine they capture the same magic as the first film.

Anaconda is on blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment now.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @castle_anger.