Movie Review: Snake Island (2002)

August 31, 2012

So far this week we’ve seen an abominable snowman, mystery monsters, and grizzly bears. None have done a lot to impress or inspire confidence for creature features, so today it’s time for nature to take its course. As shown time and time again in movies, it’s killer snakes that are at the top of the food chain. Fortunately there are a lot of killer snakes in Snake Island.

Unfortunately these killer snakes would rather dance than be menacing.

Written and directed (and starring) Wayne Crawford, Snake Island follows a group of tourists and tour guides stranded on a snake-infested island in Africa, aptly called “Snake Island”. Unbeknownst to the strandees, poisonous snakes are, in fact, poisonous. The group has to fight for survival against CGI and rubber snakes, all while being slightly drunk from partying for whatever reason. Sure, that sounds cool — oh wait, no it doesn’t, and this movie is as cool as it sounds.

Snake Island has a litany of problems, and the only genuinely good thing about this movie is that idiots die. Not every idiot, mind you, but enough bite the dust to the point where the slew of idiots is forgivable. As a whole, though, a few morons turning purple doesn’t excuse this film.

The writing is mostly absurd and it’s really hard to believe in. To begin with, these tour guides having jobs isn’t realistic at all. The Jungle Cruise tour guides at Disney World know better than to brush off a dead colleague on a deserted island by partying! It’s just something that wouldn’t happen, and on top of that the progression is horrible. There are big enough time gaps between a whole lot of scenes to the point where it’s useless to try to follow the story.

The characters aren’t written well either — again, idiots of the earth, the lot of ’em. It’s also obvious that Wayne Crawford wrote Snake Island, largely because the character he wrote for himself is the most likeable by far. He plays the voice of reason, who happens to be the only guy that gets laid, and who happens to be pretty awesome with a rifle.

Free tip to any filmmakers out there: If you’re starring in a film which you’re also writing and directing, you’ll come off as extremely self-serving if you give the only likeable role (out of ten) to yourself.

Speaking of unbelievable, we can’t forget about the acting! Even William Katt — the actor from House (1986) who is kinda cool — has to spew his lines out in every scene. His movements are robotic and Katt really doesn’t come across as the Horror novel writer type, which he is supposed to be in Snake Island. Every other actor is either not very good or just was given terrible material to work with. I can’t say which.

And on the final tier of unbelievable, we have the resident army of snakes. The snakes rotate between being real, CGI, and rubber. On top of not looking great, they also dance to music with naked women all the while having a thing for a guy’s penis. To my way of thinking, there’s a reason for bisexual snakes not being a recurring theme in movies.

I hate to beat on this, but I think that the most disappointing thing about Snake Island is that Wayne Crawford wrote only one likeable role and gave it to himself. It just seems a little bit egotistical to me and while this film certainly has a slew of problems, I can accept bad movies — I do every day! But it’s hard to accept any film which, in my view, is just a self-serving act by the filmmaker.

Do yourself a favor and skip this one (For the masochists, it’s on Netflix as of this writing).

Edit 09/04: Changed the description of one of the creature features mentioned in the first paragraph to eliminate a spoiler.

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