Movie Review: 'Piranahconda'


Not too long ago the legendarily awesome schlock-slinger known as Roger Corman teamed up with cable television's reigning champion of creature features. The Corman & Syfy collaboration led to some mindlessly charming b-movies like Sharktopus and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, but lately it seems that the efforts are mighty skimpy. The recent and goofily titled Camel Spiders was a pretty aimless and amateurish affair, and now we're offered Piranhaconda. Yep, it's a giant snake with the head of a piranha. There's your plot. Not that we'd expect anything brilliant from a movie called Piranhaconda, but even on the most charitable b-movie rating scale, this is a weak, limp, generic, and tiresome affair. The first few SyFy/Corman flicks knew they were silly and had some small fun with that awareness. By this point there's nothing in the way of effort.

Piranhaconda stars several busty women and a few stupid men who are filming a horror movie in Hawaii. Production troubles lead to major problems when the cast and crew are held for ransom by a gang of dumb thugs. While this nominal plot moves forward, we often cut to dummies in the jungle who wander around, fail to realize that a massive snake is right behind them, and then get chomped in very perfunctory fashion. No sly dialogue, no winks at the audience, and certainly no attempts at actual scares or suspense; just the same old monster movie formula, trotted out one more time to fill a few hours on cable TV. Even for a guy who found things to like in SyFy movies like Zombie Apocalypse and Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Piranahconda comes off as a particularly dull and lazy little b-movie.

As is often the case with low-rent, quickly-shot b-movies that are shot in pretty places, Piranhaconda does manage to wrangle a few familiar faces into the mess. A very bored-looking Michael Madsen mumbles quietly through his (few) scenes as a scientist who covets the giant fish-snake's eggs (the idiot), and Kiwi actress/model Rachel Hunter pops up as the evil kidnapper's devious lady friend. Beyond that, it's anonymous face central, although leading lady Teri Ivens, both gorgeous and scrappy, could certainly go on to better movies than this one. Similarly, there's a tall blonde model called Shandi Finnessey who has some fun playing a spoiled, clueless scream queen. Neither of these ladies can elevate Piranhaconda into a consistently entertaining stupid movie, but they do add a few sparks to a ponderously predictable junk food flick.

And let's just stop smashing animals together already. If we've learned anything from Sharktopus, Dinocroc, and Piranhaconda, it's that sometimes movie titles are better just as titles. Sharks are scary enough without giving them tentacles, and if your snake is already the size of an airplane, it doesn't need the face of a piranha! On the other hand, I'd definitely tune into a movie called Rhinopotamus. Either way, I like a lot of stupid monster movies, but Piranhaconda is not one of them. It's got a few decent kills, some ladies who deserve better material, two mild chuckles, and a whole lot of boredom. A movie called Piranhaconda really shouldn't be boring.