Friday, 24 May 2019

Megaconda (4 Stars)

What do you get when you make a film about a big snake? Terror, pure terror. Just look at the fear in Brianna Lee Johnson's eyes as she looks up and sees the megaconda hovering over her head, waiting to strike.

As far as I know, this 2010 film has never been released on disc. It was shown on television, and now it's being streamed on Amazon Prime. It was directed by Christopher Ray, who has established himself as the King of Low Budget Monster Movies. That might sound cheesy, but don't dismiss his films. They're remarkably good. The acting is always good, the stories are fascinating, and the cinematography is outstanding. Just compare the picture quality with "Spider-Man Homecoming". Despite all the millions invested in Marvel films, it has a messy quality, so dark in places that you can hardly make out what's happening.

You might expect the plot to be simple. A big snake slithers around eating people, so the good guys fight till they defeat it. Right? That's all the film needs, but it has a lot more. There are different groups of people, none of them irrelevant, and there are a collection of sub-plots to make the characters interesting.

The film takes place in and around a small town in Colorado. An area just outside the town has recently been purchased by a wealthy property developer who wants to build a mall. He says it's for the sake of the townspeople, but that's what property developers always say. He has a beautiful young wife – that's Brianna in her green dress – who is having an affair with Jake, one of his employees. The explosives used to level the land open up an underground cavern where the giant snake is living.

The first victim is a construction worker. Then a young poacher. Then two teenagers walking across the land. The town's sheriff is called to investigate. It must be a very small town, because there are no other police. He goes into action with the help of his son, an older poacher (Mike Gaglio) and a rough sleeping resident played by Michelle Bauer.

It's never made clear why Michelle is sleeping in a cave, but isn't she the sexiest hobo you've ever seen? I'd gladly curl up next to her to keep warm.

The only fault I can name in Christopher Ray's films is that the special effects are weak. In scenes like this it's obvious that the snake is a computer-generated image superimposed in the screen. However, this is only a small annoyance in an otherwise perfect film. Just think what Christopher could do if a big studio hired him and gave him a few million dollars to play with.

As you can guess, it's a last-man-standing film. Which one(s) will survive till the end of the film? I shan't tell you. Watch the film for yourself.

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