Shiny Shelf

Snakes on a Plane

By Mark Clapham on 20 August 2006

Rarely have four simple words captured moviegoers imaginations in such a ferocious way. A title like ‘Snakes on a Plane’ suggests an absurd, ultimate B-movie, a ridiculous combination of two big phobias in one big, stupid horror/disaster movie.

And so it has come to pass. Shaped by internet enthusiasm for its high concept from lines of fan-dialogue to a song over the end credits that was originally recorded without any solicitation from the studio or filmmakers, ‘Snakes on a Plane’ goes out of its way to fulfil the expectations of its potential audience, and succeeds.

Thankfully, raised anticipation has not led to any pretensions. Director David L Ellis delivers a snappy film which doesn’t drag on and doesn’t bother with any attempts at characterisation or meaning. The characters are all clichés, from Samuel L Jackson’s badass FBI agent, through the ‘extreme’ sportsman witness he’s protecting, to a flightload of contemporary disaster movie stereotypes for the snakes to chomp through.

This is a stupid, schlocky, funny movie which gleefully exploits every potential shock, gag and gross-out moment inherent in its daft premise. If there’s a wince-worthy place a snake can bite into, one bites into there in this movie. Any place you wouldn’t want a snake crawling into, one crawls into in this movie. In terms of disasters and near-death situations, if it could in the most lurid imagining of the screenwriters possibly happen, it happens in ‘Snakes on a Plane’.

You will jump, you will laugh, and if you’re really scared of snakes, you’ll probably walk straight out of the cinema. Even if its shocks are too much too handle, you’ll almost certainly find it hard to actually dislike such a charmingly silly, fun movie.

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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named

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