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Horror Movie Blu-ray Review: Anaconda

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Horror Movies on Tubi - Lopez in Anaconda

Horror Movie Blu-ray Review: Anaconda

The recent Blu-ray release of Lake Placid put me in the mood to revisit other killer animal creature features, so it’s kismet that 1997’s Anaconda is being re-released on Blu-ray just a few weeks later. Although the film debuted on the format in 2009 via Sony, Mill Creek Entertainment recently picked up the rights and re-issued the title.

Written by Top Gun duo Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. along with Hans Bauer (Titan A.E.), Anaconda’s plot is a simple one. A documentary crew travels through the Amazon rainforest by river barge in hopes of capturing the elusive native people known as the “People of the Mist” on film for the first time. While in search of one great mystery of the expansive Amazon, the hapless group discovers another: a 40-foot, man-eating anaconda. Like that, the hunters become the hunted. Tensions (and stakes) raise even higher when it’s revealed that one crew member is in it for the snake and considers the others expendable.

The film is driven by an ensemble cast. Jennifer Lopez takes top billing as documentary director Terri Flores; this was the same year as her breakout performance in Selena and before she began her music career. Ice Cube (Friday), who plays the cameraman, was still in the transition process from hardcore rapper to family-friendly entertainer. Jon Voight (Deliverance) rocks a ponytail and his best attempt at a Paraguayan accent as snake poacher Paul Serone. Eric Stoltz (Mask) portrays Dr. Steven Cale, an anthropologist who is an expert on the indigenous tribes.

Rounding out the cast is Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) as the sound guy, Vincent Castellanos (The Crow: City of Angels) as the barge’s captain, Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks) as the production manager, and Jonathan Hyde (The Mummy) as the documentary’s snooty narrator. Danny Trejo (Machete) has a small role as an ill-fated poacher in the opening scene. While none of the film’s performances are particularly memorable, the eclectic ensemble is perhaps, even more, to watch all these years later, given the different trajectories their careers have taken since ’97.

Director Luis Llosa (The Specialist) makes the mistake of showing the anaconda – in its unconvincing animatronic puppet form – attacking an animal prey before the crew is even aware of its existence. The anaconda itself isn’t particularly scary. For its more spry work, the snake was created with CGI, which is dated but remains better than the average Syfy flick. In fact, the technology was cutting edge at the time, reportedly costing $100,000 per second (which would explain the $45 million budget).

The filmmakers succumbed to studio pressure to make the movie PG-13 rather than the originally intended R rating, so there’s not much gore – which I can’t help but believe would have increased the entertainment value – and some obvious ADR was used to remove cursing. There is, however, an emergency tracheotomy that still makes me squirm. Some of the snake attacks, although bloodless, are fairly effective as well.

Like its previous Blu-ray incarnation and the DVD before that, Anaconda, unfortunately, carries no special features. The release is about as bare-bones as it gets; no trailers, no subtitles, no pop-up menu. I would love to hear what any of the cast members have to say about the production, but alas that probably won’t ever happen. Mill Creek, however, offers a budget-friendly disc; you can’t complain about a Blu-ray that retails for under 8 bucks. More importantly, the high-definition presentation looks good, bringing the lush Amazon to the comfort of your living room.

Anaconda grossed $137 million at the box office worldwide. Surprisingly, it wasn’t turned into a franchise until 2004, when Anacondas: The Hunt for Blood Orchid slithered into theaters. The third and fourth installments premiered on Syfy in 2008 and 2009, respectively. As is often the case, the original remains the best. Dated and formulaic as it may be, Anaconda is a fun creature feature.

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Another Creepy Spider Movie Hits Shudder This Month

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Good spider films are a theme this year. First, we had Sting and then there was Infested. The former is still in theaters and the latter is coming to Shudder starting April 26.

Infested has been getting some good reviews. People are saying that it’s not only a great creature feature but also a social commentary on racism in France.

According to IMDb: Writer/director Sébastien Vanicek was looking for ideas around the discrimination faced by black and Arab-looking people in France, and that led him to spiders, which are rarely welcome in homes; whenever they’re spotted, they’re swatted. As everyone in the story (people and spiders) is treated like vermin by society, the title came to him naturally.

Shudder has become the gold standard for streaming horror content. Since 2016, the service has been offering fans an expansive library of genre movies. in 2017, they began to stream exclusive content.

Since then Shudder has become a powerhouse in the film festival circuit, buying distribution rights to movies, or just producing some of their own. Just like Netflix, they give a film a short theatrical run before adding it to their library exclusively for subscribers.

Late Night With the Devil is a great example. It was released theatrically on March 22 and will begin streaming on the platform starting April 19.

While not getting the same buzz as Late Night, Infested is a festival favorite and many have said if you suffer from arachnophobia, you might want to take heed before watching it.

Infested

According to the synopsis, our main character, Kalib is turning 30 and dealing with some family issues. “He’s fighting with his sister over an inheritance and has cut ties with his best friend. Fascinated by exotic animals, he finds a venomous spider in a shop and brings it back to his apartment. It only takes a moment for the spider to escape and reproduce, turning the whole building into a dreadful web trap. The only option for Kaleb and his friends is to find a way out and survive.”

The film will be available to watch on Shudder starting April 26.

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Part Concert, Part Horror Movie M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Trap’ Trailer Released

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In true Shyamalan form, he sets his film Trap inside a social situation where we aren’t sure what is going on. Hopefully, there is a twist at the end. Furthermore, we hope it’s better than the one in his divisive 2021 movie Old.

The trailer seemingly gives away a lot, but, as in the past, you can’t rely on his trailers because they are often red herrings and you are being gaslit to think a certain way. For instance, his movie Knock at the Cabin was completely different than what the trailer implied and if you hadn’t read the book on which the film is based it was still like going in blind.

The plot for Trap is being dubbed an “experience” and we aren’t quite sure what that means. If we were to guess based on the trailer, it’s a concert movie wrapped around a horror mystery. There are original songs performed by Saleka, who plays Lady Raven, a kind of Taylor Swift/Lady Gaga hybrid. They have even set up a Lady Raven website to further the illusion.

Here is the fresh trailer:

According to the synopsis, a father takes his daughter to one of Lady Raven’s jam-packed concerts, “where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.”

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Trap stars Josh Hartnett, Ariel Donoghue, Saleka Shyamalan, Hayley Mills and Allison Pill. The film is produced by Ashwin Rajan, Marc Bienstock and M. Night Shyamalan. The executive producer is Steven Schneider.

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Woman Brings Corpse Into Bank To Sign Loan Papers

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Warning: This is a disturbing story.

You have to be pretty desperate for money to do what this Brazilian woman did at the bank to get a loan. She wheeled in a fresh corpse to endorse the contract and she seemingly thought the bank employees wouldn’t notice. They did.

This weird and disturbing story comes via ScreenGeek an entertainment digital publication. They write that a woman identified as Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes pushed a man she identified as her uncle into the bank pleading with him to sign loan papers for $3,400. 

If you’re squeamish or easily triggered, be aware that the video captured of the situation is disturbing. 

Latin America’s largest commercial network, TV Globo, reported on the crime, and according to ScreenGeek this is what Nunes says in Portuguese during the attempted transaction. 

“Uncle, are you paying attention? You must sign [the loan contract]. If you don’t sign, there’s no way, as I cannot sign on your behalf!”

She then adds: “Sign so you can spare me further headaches; I can’t bear it any longer.” 

At first we thought this might be a hoax, but according to Brazilian police, the uncle, 68-year-old Paulo Roberto Braga had passed away earlier that day.

 “She attempted to feign his signature for the loan. He entered the bank already deceased,” Police Chief Fábio Luiz said in an interview with TV Globo. “Our priority is to continue investigating to identify other family members and gather more information regarding this loan.”

If convicted Nunes could be facing jail time on charges of fraud, embezzlement, and desecration of a corpse.

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