“Don’t forget that at the end of the day, it’s just a snake, a big messed up snake”.
Boy, if one word of dialog ever summed up a film before, this one does a pretty good job of it. Carnivorous is a low budget answer to the Anaconda series. Throw in the plot from Pumpkinhead and you pretty much have the entire film down, without ever having to have seen it. I wasn’t so lucky.
The movie begins with a young boy who is snooping around where he doesn’t belong. In a cabin he finds what looks like an old dried up snake. Later he draws a picture of a giant snake eating his dad. Guess what happens next.
It’s several years later. A group of teens are heading out on a road trip to go camping, and more importantly, partying in the cane fields. Not content to wait until they get there to party, they are having one right there in the truck. The driver’s wasted and hits a woman who was standing at her mailbox. The teens are so wasted they don’t even know they hit the lady, even though she was standing and they nailed her dead center. They later recall hitting a “bump” in the road. The lady is killed, and her husband is pretty pissed. Instead of calling the cops he gets out the old snake charm and draws himself another picture. This time he has the giant snake eating the group in the car. The actions call upon the creature to fulfill his revenge. Can anybody say Pumpkinhead? The kids start to get picked off before the guy gets a pang of conscience. He tries to destroy the picture, but it’s too late. He decides to team up with the surviving kids and try to stop the creature. They recruit local gun totin’ hood played by DMZ to take out the creature with his bazooka that he happens to have around for kicks.
Everything about this film is pretty lame. The acting is terrible, but before you blame the cast you need to look closer at the script. With lines like “You suck” and “Let’s get dirty” how can anyone look good here? DMZ is the only really known actor and so he gets stuck with all of the crazy exposition talk. He tries to keep a straight face while he explains the mythology of the creature. You will not be able to keep a straight face yourself. This reminds me of those stupid Sci-Fi films that utilize cheap CG and even cheaper production values to churn out a formula science fiction film every 15 minutes.
Carnivorous is presented in its original aspect ratio of 178:1. The film is clean enough, but the CG stuff is so fake looking that it ruins the overall quality of the picture. It’s standard television broadcast quality here. Nothing to write home about, but free from a lot of flaws or print defects. Black levels are average. The real problem here is tons of compression artifact. The bit rate seldom rises above 3.0 mbps which I can’t understand, considering there’s nothing else on the disc. No excuse for this kind of presentation.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track puts most of the action front and center. The score is appropriately subtle and low key. While there is nothing exciting at all about this presentation, it fits the mood of the film perfectly: Bland.
I’m a reptile breeder in my spare time from writing reviews here on Upcomingdiscs. I know a little bit about snakes and am often asked to give seminar workshops on how to buy your first snake. I offer tips on how to find a reputable breeder and what to look for so that you get a healthy animal. Maybe it’s time I put that knowledge to work on picking out a healthy snake on DVD. Look for a cast where you recognize at least some of the names. Be wary of films that tout a mid-level talent as the “big” draw. Be careful when a film compares itself to another franchise, itself known for being pretty much a schlock fest. Follow these simple steps and you might have a pretty good viewing experience the next time you go to the video store to pick up an evening companion. Fail to follow these guidelines and “The only thing you have to look forward to is stomach acid”.