Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood DVD Review

Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood DVD Review
Dead end.
Updated: 05-12-2009

I am missing a snake. How did Anaconda 3 slither by me, unnoticed? To my mild surprise, I got a DVD in the post the other day for Anaconda 4. I watched it, and it was bad.

At the beginning of the movie we encounter an adolescent anaconda, which I reckon was captured at the end of Anaconda 3: Offspring, and who is now being used for experiments by a mild-mannered mad scientist. The baby reptile takes exception, and wreaks havoc in the Borneo-based lab before escaping, super-sizing, replicating and heading for civilization. Or are they in Romania? Oh, well… who cares? It's basically two giant, bloodthirsty snakes for the price of one, so I didn't ask any questions.
A formerly-mad scientist, Dr. Amanda Haze (Crystal Allen), has mended her ways and is trying to contain the damage from the cell-regenerating blood orchids showcased in Anacondas 2: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. She is determined to capture the constrictor and kill it. But if wealthy, evil — and course dying, and in need of the cure — mogul Murdock (John Rhys-Davies) has anything to say about it, that snake is going to live a long, healthy life and help him do the same with its magical venom. Or something like that. Basically, the characters wandering blindly through the mountains/jungles/mines are simply there to spout a few lines, scream in terror, and then soak in anaconda digestive juices until the next victim comes along.
Mostly the action stays with Amanda and her hunky companion Jackson (Linden Ashby), a cop, assorted mercenaries, some shady Eastern European baddies, and a stoner-dude who just wanted to go hiking and maybe eat some granola along the way. The characters, from top to bottom, are all cookie-cutter and completely forgettable. Director/DP Don E. FauntLeRoy (who once-upon-a-time did a nice job lensing the original Jeepers Creepers) was totally asleep at the wheel on this one.
Still, you can't make a half-hearted effort on a movie like this without some full-blooded attempt at clever death scenes. Sure, there's nothing new here, but there are plenty of swallowings, bitings, crushings, and cork-pop beheadings — each courtesy of a hilarious, slapdashedly CGI'ed snake. There are also the obligatory jeep and foot chases, serpenty POV shots, and an ending which almost saves the show.
But "almost" doesn't cut it. If you're desperate for murder-by-reptile, I suggest you go back to the original well and watch Anaconda (J-Lo and the Jon Voight!) and Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (where else are you gonna find Captain Bill and his pet monkey?) back-to-back.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
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