A documentary crew are travelling down the Amazon to hopefully film a mystical tribe. On the way they rescue a stranded man, unaware of the trouble that his being on board will bring. As they get deeper down river his ulterior motives surface, he's a snake trapper and has his heart set on capturing a giant Anaconda snake. A beast that can grow up to 40 feet long.
Ah, creaky creature features, how I love them. Days of old when budgets were minimal and the makers of such pictures just wanted to entertain and hopefully give the discerning viewers a jolt or two, and yes, with the odd giggle thrown in on purpose. Enter the modern day creature feature, where budgets have considerably improved along with the advent of special effects. Where does this leave Anaconda you ask? Is it a modern day homage to the "good old days," or is it a genuine attempt at making a horror film for the modern audience? How you answer that will probably determine how, or if, you enjoy the film.
The cast list suggests that the makers thought they were making a great movie, while some of the attempts at a serious performance also lend weight to that theory. John Voight on the other hand clearly knew what was needed and gives a sneering, leering ham sandwich performance befitting those creakers from days of yore. If only the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson and Kari Wuhrer had followed suit, we may have been sitting here with a creature feature to rank alongside the marvellous Tremors, or at the least an equal to the funny Arachnophobia.
It's not a desperately bad film by any stretch of the imagination. It's fun playing the "guess which name actor is going to be snake food next" and "who will survive come the end" While iffy effects aren't really an issue, hey this is a film with gigantic animatronic snakes in it! And for sure some scenes are pure horror hokum delight, watch out for a John Voight wink scene, it's Z movie legend now. But it's neither homage or good horror fodder. Enjoyable enough as an appetiser to far better genre pieces, but ultimately it's very forgettable. 5/10