In this nominal sequel to 1997’s Anaconda, a half-dozen scientists go up a river in Borneo to search for the “blood orchid,” the floral equivalent of the fountain of youth and a potential gold mine for any pharmaceutical company fortunate enough to find it. Unbeknownst to the expedition, it’s anaconda mating season—not that there’s a lot of on-screen action. Anacondas beleaguers its cast with all manner of leeches, gators, spiders, waterfalls, and workplace sexual harassment, but it skimps on the actual snakes.
Undue screen time is devoted to the logistics of shipping off—finding a boatman crazy enough to go upriver during the rainy months, charting a practical route (via satellite-enhanced laptop), coping with a toilet to rival the one in Trainspotting. Naturally, the most cell-phone-reliant of the team is the first to get dunked—but it turns out to be a false alarm. A good 40 minutes go by before we see someone eaten, and it’s more than an hour before we get a close look. Where’s Jon Voight and his funny accent? Even when holding forth on survival skills (“The jungle is all green, all the time!”), this crew’s resident river rat (Johnny Messner) can’t top the charisma of the boat’s pet monkey. The hiss-worthy villain is an obnoxious British doctor (Matthew Marsden) suave enough to be courting the movie’s primary scenery (KaDee Strickland) and sleazy enough to commandeer the gang’s Gilligan-esque raft. Like the snakes, he’s just out to survive. Anacondas is clearly a bottom-feeder.