Is that a deadly, biologically enhanced snake in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
When did Anaconda come out? Wasn't it something like five or six years ago? I think that we can all safely assume that in that time the killer snake theme has been wrung dry. Well folks, you'd have assumed wrong. First there was Anaconda. Then there was Python. Now there's the Treat Williams killer-snakes-on-the-loose-in-a-small-town-populated -by-a-band-of-people-who-must-outwit-nature's-reptilian-devil vehicle Venomous. Directed by the same guy who gave us Billy Frankenstein, Demon Cop, and Wizards of the Demon Sword (can you see where this review is headed already?), Venomous strikes on DVD care of Fox Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
What happens when a bunch of biological snakes escape their cages and run rampart in a small town? Snakes alive! Death, mayhem, and destruction! After some terrorists blow up a building in the prologue (or is it an earthquake?), a bunch of deadly snakes take off for a local town. There they meet up with even more reptilian Dr. David Henning (Williams) and his assistant Dr. Santos (Hannes Jaenicke). After a spate of snake bites kills of some no name towns people, Dr. Henning and his soon to be ex-wife (Mary Page Keller, The Negotiator) deduce that—to no one's surprise—evil snakes from hell are behind the deaths! Suddenly the army is dispatched led by a bunch of mean looking generals, some more towns people die, and…oh hell, you already know where this is going.
When a man who just shot another man looks at you while polishing a gun and quips, "Mr. (insert your name here), you're starting to bore me," bad things are about to happen to you. Run very, very fast.
That is the only thing I was able to take away from Venomous.
Dear Lord, this is easily one of the most boring films I've seen in recent months. For starters, take a look at the packaging. Looks kinda cool, doesn't it? Don't be fooled. This is the longest killer snake movie ever slapped on film stock.
While the Z-level Python wasn't by any means holistic entertainment, at least it had some campy performances and a giant CGI snake to snicker at. Venomous, on the other hand, has none of this. It's as if the makers of Venomous actually tried to play this off as a real, feverish drama. What a bad idea that turned out to be. Everything about Venomous is just plain bad. Treat Williams, an actor who I actually admire and like, is given very little to do with his character. The plot is riddled with inconsistencies and baloney—take, for instance, the fact that suddenly these snakes are EVERYWHERE. Suddenly the snakes are in closed bathrooms. Biologically enhanced snakes my ass, these suckers are super snakes if they can open doors! Then there are the scenes where the snakes burst from the ground as if they'd been called upon by General Patton to fight in the war. Like demented Jim Henson puppets, these snakes are about as cheesy as it gets. However, don't fret—there are plenty of scenes of real life rattlers crawling around (or, as I like to call it, "stock footage"). Just don't expect them to muster up much fear.
There are many more things wrong with Venomous, but I'm not going to prattle on endlessly about them. I think it's fairly obvious from just this short review that this is a pretty big stinker. If you feel like you need to discover them for yourself, then by all means rent Venomous. Otherwise, stay far away from this film—it's bite is far worse than its bark (oh wait, that's a dog…never mind).
Venomous is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. This fair-to-moderate looking picture sports a small amount of dirt and edge enhancement. While the colors and black levels are all fine, the movie is so cruddy that you'll hardly have time to notice them. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and utilizes some directional effects. Much like the video portions of this disc, the audio is mediocre and fits well into the confines of a low budget soundtrack. Also included on this disc are Dolby 2.0 soundtracks in English and French, as well as English captions and Spanish subtitles.
Extra features are slim to none, the best (is that apt?) being a commentary track by director Ed Raymond. For a low budget flick, this guy sure has a lot to say about the production and story! Also included on this disc is a pointless photo gallery and a theatrical trailer for the film.
Venomous is found guilty of being a shameless rip-off of everything from Anaconda to Outbreak. Case dismissed!
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary by Director Ed Raymond
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