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Movie Review

Every seven years a rare orchid blooms deep within the jungles of Borneo. Initial research indicates that this extraordinary blossom holds the key to combating the effects of aging. With billions of dollars on the line pharmaceutically and the clock ticking (only two weeks remains of its zenith), a rather large group of scientific researchers hastily jet to this Pacific island to obtain botanical specimens.

Upon arriving, members of the expedition discover that Indonesian boat owners are presently averse to navigating Borneo's waterways because monsoon rains have made them treacherous. But Bill Johnson, an American recluse running from his demons via alcohol, is willing to risk the floodwaters for a premium price ($50,000). With no other options, the scientists reluctantly accept his take-it-or-leave-it offer.

Unbeknownst to the group (including their newly hired ship captain), the area around the flora is literally crawling (and swimming) with anacondas. To make matters worse, it's mating season for these reptilian behemoths—heightening their aggressiveness. Plus, there's a Judas onboard willing to sell out the group for his own greedy ends. To add insult to injury, a nearly fatal trip over a waterfall renders Johnson's boat useless. Can anyone survive?

Positive Elements

Although Johnson comes across as selfish, reckless and greedy, deep down he has a good heart. He risks his own life when one of the expedition's members falls overboard and faces a menacing crocodile. Later, he offers to save the group's betrayer from certain death—sending a strong message about the value of all human life. Johnson also takes full responsibility for letting greed motivate him into taking a nearly tragic gamble.

When challenged over his lack of virtue (he lets a member of the team die from a spider bite), the expedition's villain asks if he should have done the "right thing." A colleague responds, "It's always a good place to start." A comment is made that complaining is not worth the energy it takes. Several scientists battle with the importance of their mission in light of losing a member to a serpent in the early going. How significant, they wonder, is finding an orchid compared to saving one's own skin? Haven't many researchers over the years risked life and limb for the betterment of mankind? Is the orchid's active agent worth the sacrifice?

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

The expedition's physician propositions one of the female members by offering her sex with "no commitments." Furthermore, he attempts to twist her arm by illogically stating the jungle allows for more sexual freedom and a greater opportunity to walk away afterward without emotional attachments!

It's implied that an unmarried couple sleeps together onboard Johnson's boat. (She wears a slinky nightgown, and the next morning they exit the same room). Despite the mosquito-infested jungle setting, a scientist wears a low-cut blouse. Johnson sports a tattoo of a leggy woman in a provocative pose. Jokes, comments and threats are made about prostitutes, Viagra and sexual performance.

Violent Content

Why did so many scientist trek into the jungle? To ratchet up the body count, of course! (Even the movie's official Web site labels the cast as "victims." Anacondas is Jurassic Park all over again with snakes substituting for dinosaurs and a boat trip standing in for the jeep ride. Fortunately, the director throttles back the brutality and gruesomeness of humans being treated as serpent-Doritos by relying on the viewer's imagination to fill in the grisly details, using quick disappearances and underwater sequences (viewed from above) to let us know when Mr. Snake gets the munchies.

The film opens with an Indonesian native falling prey to an anaconda. Subsequent scenes show anacondas attacking a man's buttocks (the bite is offscreen) and dragging people underwater. Two people get bitten by a spider, the venom of which is paralyzing. Blood rises to the surface of the water after a serpent grabs a human snack. Viewers also catch a brief glimpse of a partially digested body. A snake's carcass is shown with two human legs sticking out of it. A woman is attacked by a crocodile.

The group's boat explodes. A building is burned. A man is shot. A woman is held at gunpoint. A snake is blown up with a flare.

Crude or Profane Language

Harsh language slithers throughout the dialogue, including at least one (fully-audible) f-word, nearly 20 s-words and about two-dozen milder profanities. A couple misuses of Jesus' name join a handful of exclamatory uses of "god." One scientist makes an obscene gesture.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Members of the expedition first encounter Johnson in a Borneo bar. Johnson is portrayed as a heavy drinker (although not a stumbling drunk) who even imbibes while piloting his boat. Expedition members drink aboard the boat and offer a toast. A colleague of Johnson's steers his craft while intoxicated.

Other Negative Elements

The expedition's betrayer lies. (But it's fitting for his character—or lack thereof in this case.)


Personally, I'm not a fan of scary movies. By this I mean I don't enjoy watching demonic creatures, fearsome aliens, guys with large knives, guys in hockey masks, werewolves or vampires getting their kicks via killing. But adventure flicks about trying to survive sharks and spiders (or even extinct beasts like dinosaurs), and natural disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes, are in a different class, at least in my mind. With these, I'm open to the idea that the film may have merit. I point this out, because a movie about snakes eating people doesn't immediately send me scrambling to raise the red flag. What does is when that film—as is the case with Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid—gushes vulgarity, abuses the Lord's name and makes a joke out of sex. Oh, and one more thing: In real life anacondas don't gulp down 6-foot-4-inch humans like frogs down flies.

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Johnny Messner as Bill Johnson; Matthew Marsden as Dr. Jack Byron; KaDee Strickland as Samantha "Sam" Rogers; Morris Chestnut as Gordon Mitchell; Karl Yune as Tran; Sallie Richardson-Whitfield as Gail Stern; Eugene Byrd as Cole Burris; Nicholas Gonzales as Ben Douglas


Dwight H. Little ( )


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