The B movie horror genre is littered with fine examples of the filmmaking craft. From classics like Driller Killer and House on the Haunted Hill to modern releases such as Cube. Megasnake is not one of those films.
What Megasnake is is a made-for-TV movie, originally shown on the Sci-Fi Channel last year. Megasnake actually has all the ingredients to be a great B movie with a simple, effective premise that could work if treated in the right way.
When a snake is stolen by a dumb Southern American bloke, all hells breaks loose when he fails to listen to the three rules of looking after the scaly critter given to him by a very cool Native American dude who owns the reptilian. Said rules are simple:
1) Don’t take it out of its jar2) Don’t let it eat anything living3) Never fear the heart of the snake
Obviously the first two are ignored from the off and the snake starts to grow, developing a rapacious appetite along the way. Eating up the community – chickens, pigs, cows, humans – the slithery sod ends up growing over 40 feet and it falls down to the older brother of the dumb American who stole the jar in the first place (played by Stargate SG-1’s Michael Shanks) to save the day by realising the meaning of ‘never fearing the heart of the snake’.
So, standard horror fare. Why doesn’t it work then? The biggest problem here is that it’s horror-by-numbers. B-movies are meant to be trashy, easy watches and Megasnake doesn’t fail on that score. Unforgivably, it’s just boring. For a 90-minute feature, it’s shocking how much this drags, each snake attack more predictable than the next. As the effects are charmingly lo-fi, it’s down to how suspenseful the film is to maintain interest and there just aren’t any shocks to be had.
It’s not all bad and there is some fun to be had here. The final scene (and this is a big plot spoiler here) where Shanks has to be eaten by the snake so that he can kill it to save the day, is hilarious. I’m not sure it’s meant to be but it made me laugh anyway. (the spoiler’s gone now)
There’s also an amazing homage to The A-Team mid-way throughout as two mad old blokes living in the forest decide to bring the snake down by building themselves a snake-killing machine out of a truck, lots of corrugated iron and a huge flame thrower made from a gas barbecue stove. Genius.
Perhaps the most interesting thing of note about the film though is the appearance of Feedback, the winner of the Sci-Fi channel series Who Wants To Be A Superhero? His cameo is just bizarre.
Don’t let these moments of joy fool you though. In the main, Dullsville is the destination of this misfiring critter catastrophe.