Shitty Movie Sundays: Venomous

VenomousWhat a disappointing movie. With a title like Venomous and a poster featuring a giant snake’s head on the attack, I was expecting this direct-to-video cheapie to be a ripoff of Anaconda. Instead, it’s a ripoff of Outbreak. All the epidemiological plot points are there, and every character has an analogue. But, Treat Williams is no Dustin Hoffman, Mary Page Keller is no Rene Russo, Hannes Jaenicke is no Kevin Spacey (are we allowed to like his acting again, yet?), and Geoff Pierson is no frickin’ Morgan Freeman.

From way back in 2001, Venomous is the story of a viral outbreak in the small town of Santa Mira Springs, California, played by the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch. The virus in question is a bio-engineered disease that the US government introduced into rattlesnakes. After a terrorist attack on the lab during an introductory scene, the snakes escape into the wild. That would be that, except that a series of earthquakes in Santa Mira have caused the snakes to flee from their underground hiding places. Townsfolk are bitten, and it is discovered that antivenin isn’t saving their lives. A closer look at the blood of the victims reveals the presence of the virus. That’s when this thing becomes an Outbreak ripoff.

The army comes in, the town is quarantined, and three intrepid doctors work to find a cure. Along the way more people get bitten, a helicopter blows some stuff up and gets blown up in turn, and the lady doctor/love interest gets sick, but is cured by some timely medicinae ex machina.

Except for the snakes, this film tracks so closely to Outbreak that the makers of that film might have a case to be included in the credits of this film.

That doesn’t matter all that much, I guess. What really peeves me about this film is that it’s so low-effort. Besides the screenplay from Dan Golden and Sean McGinly being derivative, director Fred Olen Ray, otherwise a shitty movie filmmaker extraordinaire, managed to make a movie devoid of tension. Everyone involved had to have known the plot was thin, which explains a couple of random scenes stuck in the middle, featuring new and disposable characters who are killed off by some decent explosions. It’s too bad Ray and company didn’t get a case of the awfuckits and just decide to blow everything up. That would have made for a much more exciting movie. You know what else would have worked? If they’d ripped off Anaconda instead of Outbreak.

This movie stinks. And it’s boring. And all the women wear mom jeans. Venomous falls to #234 in the Watchability Index. Congratulations, everyone, you made a movie a little less boring than Lost Continent. Stay away.

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