Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood (2009) Review

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Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood (2009): 4 out of 10: For the fourth sequel for a film series that never threatened to set the world on fire, Anaconda 4 has some effective scenes in its 88 minutes, alas most of them don’t really involve the titular anaconda.

For starters, there is a car chase towards the end of the film and while the snake is chasing the car in question, the focus is of the movie is on the gunfight has erupted among the passengers and an intruder. There is also a silhouetted chase on a sunset drenched hill between three groups of characters that did not know of each other with the snake kind of just there to the side. Heck, there are even some tender moments between an older gun-toting woman and a blond man child lost in the woods as a snake watches them like Aqualung.

Much like a previous incarnation, (Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Red Orchid) this movie comes awfully close not needing the snake at all. Dare I say it but the removal of the anaconda may have made Anaconda 4: Trail of Blood a slightly better film.

The non-snake stuff is fairly simple. John Rhys-Davies, in full pick up a paycheck mode, is a bad guy with bone cancer who has financed a cure which involves genetically altering snakes. He hires a hitman (who brings along six friends who cannot shoot straight and twirl their mustaches) to inexplicably kill the lead scientist (who has disappeared, read been eaten.) The assassin is also asked to kill a blond chick played by Crystal Allen. She acts like an old west gunslinger but is apparently a herpetologist.

Crystal Allen meanwhile is setting explosives in an orchid bed located in one of those ridiculously well-lit caves with light bulbs every foot burning 24/7. She runs into what appears to be a fifteen-year-old boy who immediately becomes her love interest in a weird Private Lessons kind of twist. The fifteen-year-old boy is looking for the base camp where some other unrelated (non-giant snake creating) scientists are digging up a frozen body out of a UFO or something.

Like I said, the snakes are almost crowded out of their movie. It is probably for the best. While the CGI is better than many other killer snake movies, this is damning with faint praise. The snakes in question don’t look like anacondas or even snakes at all. Replacing shark fins with bear claws does not make the shark scarier. And giving anacondas silly rows of over-sized teeth and the ability to regenerate like the T-1000 (Terminator 2 Judgment Day) does not make them any scarier.

Oh, and while I picked on the first movie for having anacondas in a jungle, they are after all swamp and marsh dwellers; and picked on the second movie for having them in Borneo, which is in Asia last I checked; I don’t have words to describe the draw dropping silliness of Anacondas in Romania. The Carpathian Mountains in fall do not create the proper snake attack vibe unless it is a 60-foot cottonmouth. Also, a note to the Sci-fi Channel: If I see “Bear-Shark Claws of Death” on your channel anytime soon I’m coming after you guys. I’m just giving a friendly warning here.

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