Friday, February 14, 2014

SyFy vs. The Mynd: Snakehead Terror (2004)

A few years ago, a lake belonging to a US small town was overrun by snakeheads, who proceeded to eat the local fauna until they (and whatever was left of the other lake life) were destroyed by a particularly effective poison. Now, snakeheads return to the area, but the new animals are curiously large – it’s as if someone (William B. Davis!?) had put growth hormones into the lake - and have developed an appetite for larger prey like bears, dogs, and humans, which is particularly unpleasant in a fish species that does like its land detours.

The situation spells trouble for the local sheriff, Patrick James (Bruce Boxleitner). Things don’t improve with a mayor doing the traditional Mayor of Amity bit, or when James’s stupid annoying teenage daughter (Chelan Simmons) decides to go on a stupid annoying teenage snakehead vengeance boating trip to avenge one of her stupid annoying teenage friends. Well, at least James has help from fishologist Lori Dale (Carol Alt) who even comes with her own fish killing device. Did I mention James is – of course - widowed and Dale single?

With Snakehead Terror, the usually at least dependable Paul Ziller again manages to make a rather entertaining film out of a definitely stupid idea, at least if you’re willing and able to roll with it. If you do, Ziller thanks you with lots of scenes of slow, loud fish hunting people down on land or sneaking up on them like Solid Snake (Solid Fish Filet?), a snakehead as big as a whale, William B. Davis going “I didn’t mean anyone to get hurt”, and knowledge about the real use and effects of electricity.

It may not be much, but it’s enough for a perfectly fine time. Personally, I was also quite happy to find the snakeheads realized as a mixture of CGI and practical effects, with many a scene of people wrestling with oversized fish puppets. Adding to this particular joy are some fun gore effects (at least if you like nibbled off extremities), all presented with a well-developed sense for escalation that is quite typical of most of Ziller’s films (except the three I don’t like).

I think I need to warn my more sensitive readers about the good sheriff’s stupid annoying teenage daughter and friends, though, for even a person steeled by dozens of stupid annoying teenagers in SyFy/Sci Fi Original movies like me did not expect the stupid teenage apocalypse that are Amber and her friends, creatures so vile I can’t imagine anyone will not root for the killer fish trying to eat them.

No comments: