Mega Snake (2007) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Mega Snake (2007)

Published

on

Mega Snake review!Starring Michael Shanks, Siri Baruc, John T. Woods, Matthew “Feedback” Atherton

Directed by Tibor Takacs


I know it probably seems redundant to call a Sci-Fi Channel original movie “inane” but inane really is the only word that instantly springs to mind when trying to sum up Mega Snake. Someone desperately needs to explain to some of writers of these Sci-Fi movies that there’s a huge difference between making a movie that’s intentionally campy and making one that’s just plain asinine. For all I know it’s the Sci-Fi execs mandating the screenwriters tailor their scripts so, but eventually they’re going to realize that being campy and being insultingly stupid are too entirely different things and it’s kind of hard to have fun when a movie is going out of its way to insult your intelligence.

And contrary to the accompanying artwork, the snake does not grow to Godzilla-sized proportions, attack a city, or battle fighter jets. A pity given that the monster snake’s CGI is pretty good for a Sci-Fi Channel movie. It’s still a really freakin’ big snake that somehow manages to go unnoticed by most until it’s too late for them, such as during the carnival-setting finale where people along the crowded fairway often fail to notice there’s a giant snake slithering amongst them until the last second.

“Stargate SG-1” star Michael Shanks plays snake-phobic paramedic Lester, who also has phobias about commitment and growing up, as evidenced by his strained relationship with girlfriend Ranger Erin. He may have spent his entire life living in East Tennessee (AKA filmed on location in Bulgaria) with his family of Christian snake-handlers, but after dad died from a snake bite when he was a boy, Les grew up with a newfound fear of slithery serpents that his family blames on his lack of faith.

Les’ brother Duff needs to acquire some new snakes for the church so he seeks out local Native American tattoo artist and all-purpose snake dealer Screaming Hawk, who is played by a guy that I swear to God looks like a white George Lopez. Duff enquires about a mysterious jar containing a snake in Screaming Hawk’s black market serpent den that leads to the biker Indian telling him all about Anteka (or something that sounds like that), a species of highly dangerous, fast-growing, potentially supernatural snake that once terrorized his Cherokee ancestors until they wiped out all but this last one in the jar. When asked why he’d keep such a thing alive in a jar if its so dangerous, the Screaming Hawk tells him that keeping one alive is considered a source of pride and power amongst his people; this despite every other word out of his mouth on the topic involving declarations of the creature being a murderous abomination from the netherworld.

It turns out that this accursed creature also comes with three rules – just like a Mogwai from Gremlins.

  • Rule #1 – Never let it out of the jar.
  • Rule #2 – Never let it eat anything living.
  • Rule #3 – Never fear the heart of the serpent.
  • Now Duff may be a god-fearing Christian but it turns out he isn’t above stealing. When Screaming Hawk turns down his offer to buy the unholy snake, Duff decides to break the 8th commandment. Unfortunately, he then wastes no time breaking the jar. The snake then proceeds to eat a kitten, some chickens, and an old lady’s thumb. That’s two rules down and we’re not even 15-minutes into the movie yet.

    Duff will then get eaten, Les will get suspected of murdering his family (and chickens), and the demon snake will continue to eat and grow and eat (men, women, children, and hillbillies all fall prey) until the climactic showdown with the snake inside the carnival haunted house where Les is finally able to not fear the heart of the serpent.

    Director Tibor Takacs (Mansquito, Ice Spiders) is a firm hand at directing this sort of thing and knows how to keep even the flimsiest of material moving along at a relatively breezy pace, but at least with Mansquito and Ice Spiders he had scripts that gave him something to play with. By the time we got to the scene where the disbelieving town mayor flatly refuses to cancel the big county fair over threat of a killer animal on the loose it became quite apparent how little imagination had gone into crafting the story. Mega Snake isn’t an actual movie, folks. This is merely sausage from the Sci-Fi Channel meat plant.

    Canadian born Michael Shanks freely admitted at a fan convention recently that he agreed to do this film without ever even having read the script solely because he needed to obtain a new US work visa. I think Shanks already starred in this movie anyway, only last time it was called Swarmed and dealt with mutant wasps on the loose. Then again, that mutant wasp movie didn’t have everyone talking with fake hick accents like the one Shanks himself can’t keep from coming and going.

    To be fair, everyone seems acutely aware what kind of movie they’re appearing in and ham it up appropriately, and you really can’t fault actors when they’re saddled with dialogue this lame that they’re required to deliver with Southern accents so comically phony. Fault once again lies with the clichéd writing.

    Mega Snake review!Matters of faith in regards to snake-handling, the lead character’s extreme phobia of snakes, the mystical Native American origins of the monster snake: all concepts that are introduced but never built upon. Instead Mega Snake plays out like every snake flick the Sci-Fi Channel has ever aired with people getting picked off at random and a whole lot of trotting about the woods. Only thing this one adds to the mix is an extra added layer of bad Southern stereotypes and a lamebrained soap opera subplot between Les, Erin, the dorky town sheriff Erin dates to make Les jealous, and the blonde paramedic with the hots for Les that makes Erin jealous. All of which is set to a “Dukes of Hazzard” score that occasionally erupts into heavy metal riffs when the snake attack.

    Despite some isolated moments of worthwhile nature gone amok carnage, Mega Snake is more of a mega turkey.

    I’d be remiss not to mention that Mega Snake also holds special regards for featuring the screen debut of Feedback, the winner of the first season of the Sci-Fi Channel “reality” competition show “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” The winner of that reality program — that many people, including myself, believe to have been a scripted fraud — was to get a comic book based on their superhero creation to be penned by Stan Lee and a guarantee of their own Sci-Fi Channel original movie. Well, it turns out the “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” winner’s cinematic reward was merely getting a two-minute cameo that feels like it was totally shoehorned into one of Sci-Fi’s typical Saturday night originals at the request of the network with little thought put into it what to do with him. Feedback makes a brief appearance during the carnival climax as his non-superpowered self giving an audience of kids a brief lecture about electrical safety like he’s Slim Goodbody or something before briefly tussling with the title monster for about 15-seconds. His dialog and physical mannerisms left me wondering if the whole thing wasn’t intentionally designed to make him look like a complete joke, a spastic tard in a blue jumpsuit. And like Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred, Matthew Atherton, the professional actor who plays the character of Feedback, proves incapable of even convincingly playing himself on film. From hero to zero in two minutes flat!

    1 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Mega Snake in the Dread Central forums!

    Continue Reading
    Comments

    Reviews

    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

    Published

    on

    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

    Published

    on

    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

    Sending
    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

    Published

    on

    Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

    Directed by John Law


    I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

    The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

    The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments

    Advertisement

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Trending

    Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC