"Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come." -- Herman Melville

Send all adoration/vitriol to marc@shadowbloom.com

August 25, 2006

Snakes on a Plane
US 2006, Directed by David R. Ellis
Screenplay by John Heffernan and Sebastian Gutierrez
Story by David Dalessandro and John Heffernan
(** and 1/2) of four


It's been a wild ride for SOAP since it started making the rounds on the Net, journeying from punchline ("Bah, Sam Jackson will do anything.") to potential camp classic ("So bad it's good!") to legitimate phenomenon ("No, really, this movie is going to be awesome!") all the way back to where we started ("Are we still talking about this damn snake movie?") So it came as something of a disappointment, though not a surprising one, that it's just exactly what it originally claimed to be, no more, no less. Despite buzz that painted this as the "new Rocky Horror" or a thriller Hall-of-Famer, it never transcends its B-movie constraints. It's a sturdy ol' B-thriller and is entertaining for what it is, to be sure, but I won't be telling my grandkids about this one (except perhaps as an example of brilliant online viral marketing). Even with the ridiculous premise, SOAP never goes over-the-top enough to qualify as pure camp, but it also isn't quite gory enough to win over the jaded horror crowd (I thought far too many of the main characters survived, though it's worth noting there's a good chance I've been desensitized beyond recognition after years of ultraviolent, foreign Danger After Dark fare). Not helping matters are the distracting, ubiquitous CG snakes--can someone please explain to me again why CG is better and more lifelike than well-built animatronics? It's hard to be picky, though; we're not quibbling about art here. If you get a laugh thinking about Sam Jackson's quintessential line, "I've had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane," go have a good time. Just don't expect more than the movie promises.

Special applause to a downright brilliant marketing campaign that flooded websites with homemade posters, trailers, and videos, not to mention the Greatest Marketing Device Ever.