Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Crystal Allen, Linden Ashby, John Rhys-Davies, and a good deal of Romanians
Directed by Don E. FauntLeRoy
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Anacondas: Trail of Blood picks up where Anaconda 3: Offspring (review here) left off. At least I think it does. Outside of John Rhys-Davies as an unscrupulous pharmaceutical executive responsible for creating a mutant anaconda and David Hasselhoff getting blown up rather than eaten by a mutant anaconda, honestly, I have little recollection of the previous film. It was just that memorable. Still more memorable than the dullfest that is this fourth installment.
This time we are Hoff-less. Whatever goofy charm the previous Sci-Fi Channel produced installment had is absent. John Rhys-Davies is back again as the terminally ill gazillionaire damned determined to get his hands on a life-saving elixir derived from the “blood orchid” flower. This also means breeding yet another mutant anaconda, one that has regenerative abilities that make it extra hard to kill. Some people just never learn their lesson.
Now here’s a lesson for you. Five little known facts about mutant anacondas:
1) Mutant anacondas have a mouth full of sharp teeth
2) Mutant anacondas are more into biting than swallowing and squeezing
3) Mutant anacondas don’t hiss so much as they screech and growl
4) Mutant anacondas can chase down a speeding car
5) Mutant anacondas view the world through Coke bottle vision
One of Rhys-Davies’ scientists has gone missing, and he fears the scientist is taking his research to a rival firm. So he hires a hitman to take out the scientist and take back the research. Of course not realizing the real reason the scientist has gone missing has to do with yet another pesky mutant anaconda growing up way too fast, getting loose, and doing what mutant anacondas do best.
Two other groups are also making their way to the area of the forest near the mineshaft where the scientist conducted his research. One is led by actress Crystal Allen, reprising her role from the previous film as a regretful scientist responsible for creation of the mutant snake, looking to destroy the mutant anaconda research once and for all before another one is created and proceeds to slaughter everyone in the cast with an Eastern European accent, about two-thirds of the cast.
She does get the best line of dialogue in the film when she attempts to kill the snake in a drive-by and yells, “Come on, you big bag of slime!” Snakes aren’t slimey. As a scientist responsible for the breeding of snakes, she of all people should know this.
Linden Ashby leads a group looking for an excavation site where his missing brother had been working. He and his bunch are just there to add potential snake bait. But before they can become snake bait, the plot takes a timeout from the killer snake action to work in a subplot in which a member of his group gets bitten by a poisonous spider.
Around the 40-minute mark I came to realize why I was so bored, and it was not just because of the lack of killer snake action for much of the first half. Trail of Blood is the sort of killer snake flick the Sci-Fi Channel has made far too many times and I’ve watched too many times. They filmed it back-to-back with Anaconda 3 and probably should have titled it Anaconda 4: The Afterthought. I’d ask why bother making this film at all, but it’s quite apparent they weren’t bothering much at all. Just have some people run around the woods being chased be a big CGI snake that bears little resemblance to an actual anaconda for 90 minutes and give little regard to the plodding pace or drowsy plotting. The best the film has to offer is an amusing wide angle silhouette side shot of the snake slithering after an unlucky soul through a field. Everything else before and after that one inspired scene feels like stale leftovers from every other generic killer snake flick the Sci-Fi Channel has churned out over the years.
Now here are five fun facts about this fourth, and hopefully last, Anaconda flick:
1) If the forest goes quiet, there’s a predator there.
2) Mineshafts and woodlands make for cost effective set pieces.
3) You don’t truly miss Hasselhoff until he’s gone.
4) John Rhys-Davies can recite even the crummiest of dialogue and make it sound credible.
5) Linden Ashby is a slave to the rhythm.
1 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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