Silent Venom (2009)



Tom Berenger... man, what happened to you? This man has worked with Robert Altman, Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott... why the hell is he appearing 3rd billed in shitty Sci-Fi original movies* like Silent Venom? It's not like he ever pulled a Tom Sizemore and started getting arrested for drugs or beating women every other week. Sizemore earned his current fate, but I don't think Berenger has.

But even Sizemore deserves better than Silent Venom. It's the worst kind of bad movie - the BORING bad movie. Other recent amphibian monster type movies at least had the good sense to keep the deaths rolling along - this one only manages to knock off I think five guys in the whole movie, leaving as many survivors at the end. No one cares if Luke Perry's buddy or the ambitious new captain guy survive, so why do they? All we want is to see it come down to the hero (Perry) and the girl (Krista Allen) doing something together to kill the final snake, and then making out for good measure. But no, Allen hardly does anything at all, and spends her final scene in a hospital, blatantly hitting on an oblivious Perry, who goes off to Hawaii without her. Thanks for bringing down the lonely romantics who enjoy these goddamn movies.

And I had expected more from this one, because it was directed by Fred Olen Ray, B Movie king and director of classics like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Beverly Hills Vamp (plus he wrote and produced the legendary "shit-pickle" Jack-O). I figured at the very least, the movie would have some of his personality and over-the-top setpieces, but it's as by the numbers as they come. Half the deaths involve a normal sized snake biting a guy who stumbles away and dies a few hours later. Ooh, exciting.

The setting never pays off either. As the snakes start off normal size and eventually mutate, there could have been some real excitement with either version. The small ones can pop out of nowhere and attack, the large ones can block hallways and such, limiting an already claustrophobic setting. But no, all of the snake scenes have as much suspense as Rob Zombie's version of Michael Myers - they just appear without any buildup, do their thing, and move on.

Worse, half the "suspense" stems from an enemy sub nearby that may attempt to fire on our guys. This would be fine if we actually SAW the other sub or even knew who they were, but no. So we have two antagonists; one we don't know and the other we don't believe exists due to the shitty CGI. Riveting stuff really.

Luckily, the disc comes with no extras whatsoever, unless you count a few trailers that are inaccessible from the main menu. One is for the Joe Lynch-less Wrong Turn 3, which I wasn't interested in much anyway, but now am even less so since the spot gives away pretty much every kill. I expect nothing less from FOX (these are the same people who put a shot of Hanks returning to civilization in the Cast Away trailer, after all), but still - it's not like this movie had much going for it anyway, why ruin all of the surprise now, weeks before its even due on shelves? Then again, if the spot only appears on Silent Venom, I might be the only one that has seen it, so maybe they are just trying to spite me personally.

Either way, don't bother with this junk; it barely even lives up to the ever lowered bar I set for Sci-Fi originals. Only reason I'm not calling it crap is because after Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, I'm just happy to see a fairly realistic submarine control room again.

What say you?

*At least, I THINK it's a SCO - it certainly resembles one. Anyone know for sure?

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