Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Four snake movies in five days. My goal is six snake movies in seven days because I still have ‘Mega Snake’ and ‘Snakeman’ in the on-deck circle. Why am I watching all these sci-fi channel inspired Straight to DVD snake movies in succession? A list that has already featured ‘Anaconda 3’, ‘Anaconda 4’, ‘Vipers’ and this here movie ‘Silent Venom’? The answers to this are multi-faceted but they all center around one central premise. I’m an idiot. After ‘Anaconda 3’ I should’ve stopped. Ceased and desisted. But I had to watch ‘Anaconda 4’ didn’t I? Now I’m in full blown horrible snake movie mode and I can’t seem to stop, even though I wish to the gods above that I could. So now we have ‘Silent Venom’, a title that was chosen because I suppose ‘Snakes on a Submarine’ just sounded too derivative.

Without even putting the disk in, based on what we’ve seen already, we can assume that some evil monolithic entity is mucking around with the DNA of some dangerous wild creature because this is what these entities do. In this case it’s the U.S. Gub-Ment! Some Pentagon cat has crazy hot scientist Andrea Swanson (Krista Allen) on some tropical island attempting to turn snake venom into a biological weapon. Nice. We should mention that Ms. Allen whispers all of her lines in this movie with a hint of breathless sexual desperation. It doesn’t make this movie any more interesting but it did spur us to pull out an old episode of ‘Emmanuelle in Space’.

Unfortunately the Chinese navy is doing some maneuvers out that way which forces Navy Admiral Bradley Wallace (Tom Berenger) to reroute a soon to be decommissioned sub captained by shamed Navy Commander James O’Neil (Luke Perry) to rescue the Doc and her slimy assistant Jake Goldin (Louis Mandylor). In prepping for the rescue the doc has ordered this assistant to destroy all the snakes, except for four, but especially destroy the extra large ones that they did the genetic testing on. The assistant, however, doesn’t do this because he feels he can get some big money for these snakes on the ‘open market’. Of course he can. Who wouldn’t have a need for a pair of 25 foot venomous man-eating genetically altered snakes? Their uses are endless.

Oh boy. Our slimeball assistant brings a bunch of super poisonous regular size snakes on the sub and the container with the monster snakes, and though our soldiers have been told that this is some classified top-secret type stuff, it only takes one curious sumbitch to open up the container and now we have Snakes on a Sub. Oh, and the Chinese are chasing this defenseless sub around the Pacific. Oh, and in addition to the twenty or so poisonous regular sized snakes systematically killing our sailors, the big ones are loose. And we’re low on anti-venom. And the sub is dead in the water. And Captain O’Neil has snakeophobia. I don’t know the real name for that. I could Google it but I’m lazy. Anyway they’re all gonna die. One would hope.

I think one of the problems with ‘Silent Venom’ is the overall seriousness that director Fred Olan Ray has chosen for the tone of his film. You would think that the same cat who directed ‘Super Ninja Bikini Babes’ would try to have some fun with a movie about snakes on submarine, but the minute Luke Perry shows up with that super serious earnest look on his face and when he and those fake sailors start talking at the fake tactical talk it becomes sadly clear that somebody over there thinks they’re Tony Scott directing Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. One would also think this same cat who has directed over a hundred freaking movies would be a little better at it, but this is Fred Olan Ray we’re talking about so whaddayagonna do?

Anyway, since this movie thinks its ‘Crimson Tide’ without the Crimson Tide talent it tends to move a little slow most of the time while we watch poorly trained live snakes lounge around looking as if they’ve just been heavily sedated. Eventually the doc explains to us that snakes only attack when provoked which thus justifies why these snakes generally slither over peoples feet with neither snake nor human reacting much. The super fake CGI snakes on the other hand don’t need to be provoked as they slither through the sub, and when they stop being CGI and turn into rubber they only need that guy behind them controlling the rubber head to attack. This is when ‘Silent Venom’ got much better because watching Luke Perry fight a rubber snake head was freaking hilarious. Alas we have to sit through the entire movie and listen to an awful lot fake submarine talk before Luke gets to choking the shit out that fake snake.

You would think after watching four bad fake snake flicks I would stop, but then what would I do with my spare time? Read a book? Exercise? Work at the soup kitchen? Why would anybody do that when there are fake snake movies that need to be watched? And I soldier on.

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