Nominated for six Razzie Awards with a lot of scathing reviews of the animatronics involved and Jon Voight bagging two Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, just how tragic was this Action Adventure Horror film called Anaconda?
With a fairly decent cast in Voight, J-Lo, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, and Danny Trejo, Columbia Pictures were clearly hoping for big things. Anaconda would even go on to generate four more sequels including a cross-over with the croc feature franchise, Lake Placid. In some circles, Anaconda has grown to cult status so what exactly went wrong? And do these negative reviews still hold weight over time?
25 years on, I look back at this creature feature to see if it is still as messy as my first recollection of the movie when it was initially released.
Set in the Amazonian rainforest, a National Geographic film crew set off down the river in search of the Shirishamas tribe, with hopes of documenting them. Along the way, the crew encounter stranded snake hunter Paul Serone (Voight) who convinces them that he can assist them in their quest, but holding ulterior motives. Eventually Serone leads them into the anaconda’s lair and as with these movies, our characters get knocked off one by one.
Creature features have always been a draw card and ever since Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was released, the fear of the water and what lurks beneath has been constantly amplified. In this instance Anaconda had tried to leverage a blend of animatronics and cgi to catapult the horror element into new directions. Unfortunately it wasn’t able to leap into the realms of believability throwing the audience out of the picture along the way.
In addition, the screenplay is incredibly formulaic with weak writing in the fold, proving difficult for the cast to manipulate or add any depth too despite their abilities to do so before the camera.
It doesn’t help that most of the characters are two-dimensional and therefore unable to provide any depth to them for the actors to dive into and explore.
Anaconda is a cheese on toast horror that looks pleasing and will be pleasing to some, but it won’t develop your taste palate, happy to live in the realms of popcorn territory. And with talks of a reboot on the horizon, it sounds like there could be more quests into the anaconda dominion yet to come. Is there life still in this franchise? Time will tell.
- Saul Muerte