Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Cast:
Johnny Messner as Bill Johnson
KaDee Strickland as Sam Rogers
Matthew Marsden as Dr. Jack Byron
Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Ben Douglas
Eugene Byrd as Cole Burris
Karl Yune as Tran
Salli Richardson as Gail Stern
Morris Chestnut as Gordon Mitchell
Andy Anderson as John Livingston
Nicholas Hope as Christina Van Dyke
Peter Curtin as Lawyer
Denis Arndt as CEO
Khoa Do as Lead Lopak Hunter

Critique:
Deep in the dense jungles of Borneo, a research team has come hoping to succeed where famed explorer Ponce De Leon once failed. History notes that De Leon ventured to Florida looking for the fabled Fountain of Youth that would endow all who drank from it with eternal youth and life.

The modern quest is taken up by a research team who believe that the rare Blood Orchid, which blooms every seven years is the key to eternal youth, as the small samples they obtained shows that the plant allows for greater cell reproduction and thus an end to aging.

With visions of billions of dollars in their heads, the team sets off to collect several samples of the orchid, as they only have a week to do so before they must wait another seven years for the flower to bloom again. Complicating matters is that the team has arrived during rainy season, and as such there is only one boat captain named Johnson (Johnny Messner), who will attempt to take the team down river in the dangerous conditions. The trip turns out to be even more dangerous than expected, and the team leader Dr. Byron (Matthew Marsden), offers and additional $50,000 to Johnson unbeknownst to his team to push on, no matter what.

When the boat jams a rudder due to debris and ends up on the bad side of a waterfall, the team finds themselves without any transportation and forced to trek across the jungle to not only catch other transportation, but to reach the Orchids in time. Unbeknownst to the team, they have entered an area of the jungle that is teaming with giant and deadly anacondas and the team is soon under attack by the large and deadly creatures that strike without warning and vanish almost as quickly as they appear.

Fractions soon arise as many in the team want to abandon the quest for the orchid and return to safety, while Byron insists that to give up now would be crazy and despite the risk, the prize the orchid promises is well worth the risk.

What follows is the typical cat and mouse game that while short on suspense does have some surprises and laughs along the way.

The snake effects are done via CGI this time out instead of animatronics, and the technology allows an even greater range of motion for the snakes, which adds to the suspense factor, as the snakes are able to appear as full body creatures rather then a simple head. The cast is solid especially Messner and Kadee Strickland as a scientist named Sam. The remainder of the cast has a bit of depth even those whose entire purpose is to become snake chow. Yes, the film is a B-Movie, and is light on plot, realism, and depth, but for late summer entertainment, “Anacondas” has enough bite to keep you interested.

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