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Anaconda (1997)



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Modern audiences are so attuned to Hollywood's barrage of cliches and rehashes that there are certain premises and plot elements that, were one to appear in a film, automatically raise warning flags in people's minds that say, "Alert! Cliche! Rip off! Junky movie!" For the most part, especially since a lot of what Hollywood churns out these days is cliche-ridden junk, these warning flags do their job. Unfortunately, intentionally campy B-movies like Anaconda become undeserving casualties.

Anaconda is a formulaic monster movie with decent but hardly state of the art special effects. As such, it is ripe for criticisms such as "Snakes don't move that fast!", "Snakes don't have vocal cords!", and "I can predict exactly who is going to die and who isn't!" Despite the fact that these statements are all true, they aren't valid criticisms. This is camp, remember. The level of "cheese" is spread on just thick enough to be fun, but not so thick it kills the continuity or suspense. Jon Voight intentionally and appropriately hams it up as a shady character a documentary crew rescues on a river in South America. He's as fun to watch as the snakes are, which bear little resemblance to actual anacondas, but who cares? The story works better with these particular beasts, and that's what counts.

Anaconda holds no pretention of being anything but the wildly entertaining B-movie suspense romp that it is, and because of that, it succeeds remarkably well. You won't quickly forget this film. The oppressive jungle atmosphere and a handful of horrific scenes that'll burn themselves in your memory will leave a lasting impression.

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