Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.
Release Date: August 27th, 2004 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Dwight Little Actors: Johnny Messner, KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Nicholas Gonzalez, Eugene Byrd, Karl Yune, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Morris Chestnut, Andy Anderson
s Malaysian headhunters track toothy tigers, the carnivorous felines are in turn hunted by massive anacondas, which are entirely content dining on human flesh as well. Meanwhile, in New York at the WH drug company headquarters, Gordon Mitchell (Morris Chestnut) and his partner Jack Byron (Matthew Marsden) convince the board of directors that they’ve come upon the pharmaceutical equivalent to the Fountain of Youth. The Blood Orchid, a rare species of flower that will only be in bloom for another two weeks (and then stay dormant for another 7 years) in an isolated area of Borneo, may have the power to remove toxins from cells to prolong life.
When Mitchell and his crew arrive in the West Pacific, they realize that no one will take them up the river during the rainy season – except for Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner), a rugged, ex-Special Forces seaman who demands $50,000 for the perilous task. Crowded onto a small vessel (the Bloody Mary) with a tiny capuchin to boot, the group bickers and flirts, passing the time until they’re inevitably assaulted by a swarm of hungry snakes. As luck would have it, the innocent monkey gets harassed first.
It’s not long before Gail (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) accidentally falls off the boat, attracting the attention of a monstrous crocodile that Bill mounts and rides like a bronco at a rodeo. This is the first of many ridiculous misadventures, generally fueled by near misses or false alarms intended to heighten suspense. Unfortunately, these sequences are really only good for a laugh. And there are numerous other elements that contribute to unintentional bouts of humor, from the atrocious dialogue to the grating accents to the unconvincing expressions. “That was the biggest one I’ve ever seen by far!” This is, undeniably, an accumulation of Z-grade actors.
“Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” is unofficially a sequel to “Anaconda” from 1997, baring little resemblance to the original, save for the antagonist itself. Perhaps the only other comparable component is the invention of irritating personas whose deaths can be eagerly anticipated by viewers. The expedition survivors moan and groan all the way into the jaws of the snakes, growing increasingly more aggravating and undeserving of rescue. Expectedly, several members wish to continue to the blood orchid location even after fellow scientists are eaten in full view (the theme of humans behaving more sinisterly than the monsters isn’t new to this genre, either). Surprisingly, it takes more than 40 minutes before the anacondas actually ensnare their first trekker – and when the lead creature makes an appearance, it’s extremely unimpressive, betraying a severe deficiency in computer animation realism. The boat and water-related stunts are somewhat better, accompanied by a few shots of anaconda prop puppets, but it’s not enough to salvage the overwhelming mediocrity and silliness of the production.
– Mike Massie