Piranhaconda review


Whilst in Hawaii, Professor Lovegrove discovers a remarkably rare Piranhaconda egg and steals it from its nest but on his journey to escape, he must overcome a film crew, a kidnap plot and two very angry Piranhaconda parents…

Piranhaconda turns the standard Syfy formula into an entertaining romp with interesting characters, a clear plot, realistic character motivations, witty dialogue, surprisingly ‘meta’ jokes and an interesting hybrid creature.

Despite its meagre budget, Piranhaconda is actually quite adventurous and varied compared to the average Syfy fare. The film has a huge cast, plenty of guns and props, reasonable special effects and vehicle-wise contains cars, vans, boats, quad bikes and a helicopter. Also a rocket launcher.

Gone are many of the cheap production issues that plagued Sharktopus, instead we have nicely framed shots, good editing, no extraneous rubbish or filler material and everything has a nice professional edge. Sometimes the cinematography is a little cheap and the weather changes per-shot occasionally but the entertaining performances, swift pace and clear plot keep the action engaging.

I loved the design of the Piranhacondas with the vivid colours and clear silhouette, no unnecessary spikes or over the top textures, just a sleek design with really cool head ridges. I also think it’s a fantastic idea for a creature albeit in behaviour though, Piranhaconda is far more fish than serpent.

Despite laying eggs and being 90% comprised of snake, the creature never coils or constricts like an Anaconda instead preferred to dart and ambush prey like a Piranha. Humans have a bizarre habit of exploding into a bloody cloud when attacked by the monster but special effects do cost a lot of money and this is most apparent as the one thing that Piranhaconda is missing is a stand-out kill.

Terri Ivens gives a wonderfully amicable performance with the right degree of seriousness and believability that really helps films like these. The moment that doesn’t work is when the film tries to pull a ‘the Hollywood Diva is so beautiful that everyone pays her attention and ignores the lowly producer Rose’ because Terri Ivens is also outstandingly hot and I can’t believe anyone would ignore her.

The rest of the cast are serviceable with Rib Hillis, Michael Swan and former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey deserving special mention and as per the Syfy mandate, there are plenty of super-hot bikini babes that get munched in various scenes (some of whom bring up rather NSFW IMDb results) and their acting ranges from awful to impressive. There’s also Michael Madsen whose ‘I’m having a good time’ scenes just about outweigh his completely-phoning-it-in scenes.

Piranhaconda is a return to form for Roger Corman and I wish more creature features could be like this with a great cast who are game for the pseudo-seriousness that are the lifeblood of this genre, a crew that dedicated to making a watchable and enjoyable movie, a well-designed and memorable creature and the overwhelming atmosphere of fun.

Profile Piranhaconda (2012)
Director Jim Wynorski
Writers Mike MacLean & J Brad Wilke
Cast Terri Ivens, Rib Hillis, Michael Madsen, Shandi Finnessey, Michael Swan, Noah Blake & Rachel Hunter
Creature Piranha / Anaconda hybrids

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