Anaconda III: Offspring (2008) / Horror-Sci Fi
MPAA rated: R for bloody violence
Running time: 91 min.
Cast: Crystal Allen, David Hasselhoff, John Rhys-Davies, Ryan McCluskey, Patrick Regis, Anthony Green
Director: Don E. Fauntleroy
Screenplay: Nicholas Davidoff, David C. Olson
Review published June 14, 2012
Genetically-enhanced snakes escape from a high-tech corporate research lab studying the eradication of cancer and Alzheimer's (didn't these scientists ever see Deep Blue Sea?), terrorizing the rural Eastern European landscape and especially the living things that dare tread their path. Herpetologist Amanda Hayes (Allen, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men) is the head of the group studying the 60-foot snakes, under the corporate leadership of a big-wig named Murdoch (Rhys-Davies, Shark Bait), whose interest in being a supreme jerk supersedes his interest in safety, culminating in things going haywire and the gargantuan snakes make their way out. Murdoch wants to keep things under wraps, so no authorities are called, and a group of skilled snake-hunters, led by the best in the business, Hammett (Hasselhoff, Click), are brought in to stop the damage and contain or kill the beasts before they make their way to an urbanized locale. Compounding the urgency: one of the snakes is pregnant and within days will hatch even more of the monstrosities.
The second mostly in-name-only sequel (there is a tie-in to the blood orchids from Anacondas) can't come close to living up to the interest or entertainment level of the first entry, Anaconda, and that was pretty low as it was. The Sci-Fi Channel has taken over the series and have made back-to-back entries, with the first being, of course, Anaconda III: Offspring. It does meet the requisite series staple: it's got big snakes. The real problem isn't that the film is bad, but it isn't as goofy as the other films in the series, and with less goof factor, there is less so-bad-its-good enjoyment to be had for guilty pleasure movie aficionados. It's the same-old post-Jurassic Park story of a science experiment gone awry and escaping, wreaking havoc and killing off people gruesomely one by one. With it's snake-eye view and strange clicking noises, many viewers will likely feel it a rip-off of Predator as well.
David Hasselhoff gets top bill but he's absent from the film for most of the duration. He's only in the film to deliver a few smirks, plus spouting hammy lines while firing off guns (and looking rather inept doing so). As much on the rocks as Hasselhoff's career might have been at this point, even this kind of film seems beneath him. The real star is Crystal Allen, who spends a good deal of her time finding ways to get wet or muddy while in a the rather generic attractive blonde, Crystal Allen, who doesn't act so much as look pained while finding interested ways to get wet or muddy while wearing a skin-tight tank top.
The snakes are wholly CGI and look like they were ripped out of a long-forgotten video game, exhibiting little ability to induce terror from an audience perspective. There are a few scenes of nastiness, whereby a snake will rip off the head of a victim, but outside of this, even gore-hounds will likely come away disappointed. For some reason, the snakes also have a large spike-like appendage on their tails which they use to skewer people viciously as well.
The lighting is quite dark, and in some scenes, it's almost impossible to tell what's going on. In most films, that might be a bad thing. My advice: turn the brightness all the way down, and put the TV on mute. Nothing in this film can entertain nearly as much as whatever crosses your mind as you stare at a black screen for 90 minutes.
-- Believe it or not, this film has a direct sequel, Anacondas: Trail of Blood.
©2012 Vince Leo