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Vipers (2008)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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First Comes The Slither, Then Comes The Slaughter

Their hunger is great. Their attacks are deadly. Their needs are simple: Bite. Devour. Multiply.

The Hiss of Death

This is part of the Syfy channel "Maneater" film series - made for TV natural horror films. (Nature run amok in many ways.) It's a major snake movie, so I had to watch it. (But you don't...) It's cheesy, but if you're in the mood for the genre it's no worse than any other bad predictible monster movie. It has all the cliches you expect to see - an evil corporation creates monsters for profit, monsters accidentally escape, innocent people die during sexual encounters, a love story brews amidst the fight against the monsters, and the monsters are all killed - or are they? [Insert ominous music sting.] It's also rated "R" which is unusual for the genre, most likely because of the excessive blood and gore.

The monsters are genetically enhanced Horned Vipers that are kept at a remote facility in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists working for a corporation called Universal BioTech accelerated the vipers' systems to create a greater supply of venom, because the venom cures cancer. Sounds good so far, but then the snakes developed dangerous mutations and became too powerful to control. They became stealthy, agile, extremeley lethal, with an insatiablle hunger that led them to hunt in packs and reproduce rapidly. And these snakes don't just bite and kill with their powerful venom, they eat people like we eat barbecued chicken - straight down to the bone, leaving nothing behind but a few body parts and bloody clothing. This is all completely absurd, of course. The snakes would be the size of telephone poles if they ate that much, but, whatever, it's a dumb monster movie. Best to turn off the brain and just laugh.

The captive vipers are accidentaly set free after a gunshot destroys their glass enclosure when a shady group of men try to steal them. The snakes kill everyone they encounter then escape the facility and swim to a village called Eden Cove on a nearby island that's so remote there's no cell phone service. (This is probably the scariest thing in the movie.) The snakes' first attack is a classic monster movie cliche - two horny honeymooning campers run to their tent to do the horizontal mambo, but before they can get their clothes off, vipers get inside their tent and turn the couple into fountains of blood. Later, when two guys inspect the collapsed tent, all they find is bloody clothing and a wedding ring. There's even a post-coital snake massacre if you missed the first one.

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Meahwhile, the local bad girl Nicky, (Tara Reid) who grows pot and can pick locks and hotwire cars, is selling plants in her nursery when a customer (the honeymooner who later gets vipered) screams when she sees a snake on the ground. Nicky picks it up, cuddles it, and talks to it, saying it's just a little garter snake that's cute and beautiful - bestowing Tara Reid a place on my favorite actresses acting with snakes list. Nicky says later in the movie that she knows about snakes from watching Animal Planet.

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When he learns of the escaped snakes, the evil leader of Universal BioTech sends an idealistic research doctor who is unaware that the vipers have been enhanced (another cliche) with some of his corporate gun thugs to Eden Cove. It turns out their job is not really to save anybody, it's to recover some vipers, then kill everyone on the island along with the snakes.

These snakes aren't hard to kill or run off. A spritz from a fire extinguisher scares them away, and we see snakes killed with a knife thrown into an open mouth pinning it to a wall, with a shovel, a shotgun, a handgun, a rock, a homemade flamethrower, and a massive homemade fertilizer bomb. But the snakes are fast and abundant and they can easily overtake the people of the island who are not barricaded inside a building. In one scene, they swarm a greenhouse full of people and eventually fall through the glass ceiling.

The cute little garter snake appears to be a Puget Sound Gartersnake, a snake native to the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest where the movie is set and was filmed. But the vipers are all CGI. Some of the CGI rendering is not bad, but most of the effects barely resemble snakes at all. I realize this is a dumb monster movie which demands a suspension of the desire for realism, but I can't help but also complain that the snakes constantly open their mouths to show erect fangs, and worse, they make the most insane noises - hissing, growling, and even screaming sounds. To belive that they're real snakes, you just have to laugh and let it go and enjoy the catharsis of watching the bad guys who created the monsters die terrible and painful deaths like the rest of their victims.