STUDIO: Rhi Entertainment
MSRP: $14.95
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes
- No-a vs. Python

The Pitch

Ana-blah-ndaSnakes on a Budget

Derek’s attempt at getting the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle proved catastrophic.

The Humans

Tara Reid, Jonathan Scarfe, Corbin Bernsen

“Yeah, Corbin, they can get all your stuff shot in a half day.  Of course, they’ll have the Sunny D.  Yes, Corbin, with calcium.  I know.”

The Nutshell

When will science learn? While striving for the betterment of the human race as a whole, a genetic laboratory in a remote location (is there any other kind?) happens to come upon a particularly violent and angry strand of viper, genetically enhanced with even more powerful venom and a bitey disposition. Needless to say, they break out and all converge on one location; the peaceful little cove that is Eden Island. Lucky for the vipers, there’s a veritable buffet of delightful meat for them to feast on, and what’s more, they’re isolated from society and sealed off from any help that might be able to reach them. Unluckily for the snakes, their attack coincides with the arrival of bland Iraqi War veteran Cal Taylor (Scarfe) in town to visit with the family and friends of a fallen comrade from his time served. While there, he runs into Nicky Swift (Reid), the local rabble-rouser who spends her time tending to plants both exotic and mind-altering. Just as it seems there might be some extreme low wattage being generated by these two characters, the shit hits the fan and spreads some shit all over the living room. Yes, there’s snake out here this big, and they didn’t come to Eden to hand out fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

A crew member broke the unspoken ‘no My Boss’s Daughter references’ rule established before shooting commenced.

The Lowdown

The B-Movie terrain is a tough one for filmmakers to successfully traverse, as there needs to be a certain level of the filmmakers being in on the joke and making it fun for themselves and for the audience in order for the movie to work. It doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the pitfall of so many modern films and attempt to have horror and slapstick coincide with one another in quick succession (it’s best to leave that tightrope routine to those completely in control of their material), it just means you have to show a bit of self-awareness and allow for some looseness in both the effects, performances, and plotlines. Allow some hamminess, invent some new ways for people to be snake-mangled. Bring something new to the table. Unfortunately there’s no sense of fun involved in the material here, as everything is leaden from the performances to the kills. The only actor I gleaned entertainment from in the film was Corbin Bernsen and that was more due to the fact that his character’s distance from the storyline coupled with his “paying off that new patio” performance and was the nearest the movie got to the B-movie aesthetic. Tara Reid is only slightly more convincing in her role here as a drug-dealing horticulturalist who never left home than she was as a serious anthropologist in Alone in the Dark, unable to even play a rowdy hometown girl with any verve or believability. Hopefully somebody finds her a role to utilize that glassy-eyed-working-on-a-buzz-at-noon look she’s perfected, so there’s finally an outlet for her unique talents. Jonathan Scarfe’s performance is slightly more believable, but that’s not to say he puts his neck out on the line or anything with his performance.

“Listen, I know I said I was up for some kinky shit, but if I knew you were going to bring Son of Carrot Top along, I would’ve established some boundaries.”

And if you’re going to be making a movie with genetically enhanced super-vipers*, then you’re giving yourself the opportunity to scale back your budget a little bit and showcase your cast’s ability to writhe around with a rubber snake trying desperately to convince the audience that they’re being savaged by these creatures. Instead, and most disappointingly of all (in a movie that has nothing going for it), Vipers opts for computer effects at almost all times, right down to the gore. CGI gore, when not completely and utterly convincing, is the worst shit in the entire world. Part of the fun of watching rinky dink productions where people are on the run from some sort of genetically bred beastie is that you’re going to see some nubile young teens or retired defenders of freedom be ripped limb from limb at some point. And where’s the joy in this if the filmmakers don’t let loose with a couple gallons of karo syrup and some hastily assembled prop limbs (to their credit, there’s one neat practical gore effect, but it isn’t even snake related)?

“I’m telling you guys, if we don’t unionize we’re just gonna keep being put into these shitty fucking movies.”

Add to this the fact that the script plays it completely safe as to who’s going to live and die in this situation, and you have a recipe for the ultimate in uninvolving pap. There isn’t anything in the way of humor, invention, thrills or setpieces (the main action sequence involves our protagonists slowly driving towards a pier while using flame-throwers to keep the snakes at bay –  That’s right, dramatic coasting) leaving the viewer with a cinematic experience that you forget as soon as the end credits roll. And even though they try to court my favor ever so slightly with an ending that is mind-boggling and absurd, it’s far too little too late to get anything in the way of a recommendation from me. This is sub-Python levels of snake carnage, chuddites. Avoid this pile of fucktrash.

The star-studded world premiere of Vipers at Barstow Community College.

The Package

“After the SLITHER comes the SLAUGHTER” isn’t bad as far as a cheesy taglines go, and the fact that this is part of the ‘Maneater Series’ shows that at least Daryl Hall and John Oates are getting a cut of the proceeds, which is nice. It’s also nice to have Tara Reid’s eyeline not match up with the vipers on the cover. Although, to be fair, there could be something more demanding of her attention than the genetically enhanced bringers of death in the foreground. Luckily, we avoid any extras, so the pain is limited to the 89 fantastihorrible minutes of the feature film.  

*Genetically enhanced to help cure cancer, to be specific.

out of

(.5 Winking Regurgitated Jon Voight Heads out of 5 Winking Regurgitated Jon Voight Heads)