Starting the day with some thunderstorms actually makes watching a sci-fi/horror movie that much more fun. Anyways, today’s movie is one of those fun movies that kept popping up on the Syfy channel. Of course, since it was a Syfy original movie, that would only make sense. However, I do have a slight problem with this particular Syfy original movie. Not the movie itself, but that they used it to help promote a Syfy original show, Who Wants To Be A Superhero. Still, it is a giant snake movie so I am going to sit down and enjoy watching Mega Snake.
The plot: In 1986 East Tennessee, the Daniels family is getting ready to go to church but young Les Daniels doesn’t want to go as the congregation are snake handlers and he is scared of snakes. During the service, venomous snakes are passed around for people to hold and Les is given one but he freezes up when he grabs it and the snake moves to strike him. Les’ father grabs the snake and it bites him instead and his father ends up dying, with the congregation saying it was God’s will, while Les screams out for somebody to help him. 20 years later, Les is now an EMT and after finishing up a call, he tries speaking to his girlfriend Erin, a park ranger who is angry about his being too scared to commit and tells him she will find someone else who will. Meanwhile, Les’ brother Duff, now the pastor of the church, goes into town and speaks with Screaming Hawk, a Native American who deals in snakes. While buying some snakes from Screaming Hawk, Duff notices a snake in a small glass jar and asks Screaming Hawk about it. Screaming Hawk tells him the snake is called Unteka and it had killed many people in his tribe in ancient times but his people managed to kill all but one of the creatures. When Duff offers to buy it, Screaming Hawk tells him it is not for sale but when he goes to answer the phone, Duff hides the jar under the bag of snakes and steals it. When Les gets home, he sees the jar on the kitchen table and Duff uses it to tease him about still being afraid of snakes. When Duff accidentally knocks the jar off the table, the jar breaks and Les sees Unteka suddenly grow in size before Duff can catch it but Duff refuses to believe him. That night, Les tries calling Erin but when he doesn’t get an answer, he gets jealous and decides to see if she has followed through on her threat. Meanwhile, Duff is asleep in his room when the family cat comes in and approaches the container Unteka is in. Unteka gets free from the container and eats the cat, growing in size once more. Unteka then manages to get out of the house and heads towards the chicken coop, where it attacks all the chickens. Les’ mother hears the commotion and goes to investigate but the snake attacks her and bites off her thumb. In town, Les heads to the local bar and meets Fay, his partner, and begins to drink with her. After several beers, Erin walks in with Bo, the town sheriff and seeing Les with Fay, she begins trying to one up Les as to who can make the other more jealous, and Les ends up leaving with Fay after watching Erin kiss Bo. The next morning, Duff wakes up and, finding the container open, goes looking for Unteka and finds him outside and wonders how it grew so big. He places Unteka inside a cage and decides to go get some answers, not hearing his mother weakly cry out for help. Duff heads out to see two backwoods hunters, Cooley and Patterson, and asks them if they have ever heard of Unteka and they say it was a legend but if it hasn’t reached full size yet, he could stab it in the head and kill it so Duff heads home and repeatedly smashes Unteka with a crowbar then buries it in the back yard. When Les gets home, he finds that Duff has drunk all of his beers so the two go out to the bar for a drink and end up getting thrown out after they start fighting. Back at the house, Unteka did not die and kills the family dog, then kills Duff when he arrives home. Meanwhile, Les had gone to see Erin and tries talking to her that morning but she refuses to listen and instead gives him his stuff from her apartment. Les returns home and finding the blood stain on the couch, calls out for Duff and his mom but doesn’t find them. The authorities are called and Erin tries to comfort Les but Bo begins questioning where Les was, suspecting that he killed his family in a drunken rage. Erin takes Les away from there but before they get far, they are stopped by a farmer, whose goats have all been killed. Looking at the remains, Erin believes a snake could have killed them and Les tells that to Bo when he arrives but Bo decides to arrest Les on suspicion of murder. Out on the lake, a family of four and are attacked and killed by the snake. When Erin inspects the scene, she tries to tell Bo and the mayor her suspicion but but they don’t believe her. Erin goes out to the woods and finds a large snake skin and takes it back to the sheriff’s station. Seeing Bo flirting with Fay, Erin breaks Les out of his cell and shows him the skin. Recalling what Duff had said about Unteka, they head back to his house to find the jar, leaving the snake skin in front of the station. When one of his deputies finds the skin, Bo and his two deputies head out into the woods to kill it but they are attacked by Unteka. The two deputies are killed and Bo is seriously injured but manages to escape and stumbles through the woods, eventually coming to where Cooley and Patterson live and managing to tell them a snake did this before he dies from his injuries. Back at the Daniels’ house, Les and Erin find the jar, then are surprised to see Cooley and Patterson show up. The two hunters tell them about Bo and Les shows them the jar. Recognizing the symbols as Cherokee, they direct them towards Screaming Hawk, who tells them about the legend of Unteka. Meanwhile, Cooley and Patterson try hunting Unteka with a homemade flamethrower but they end up getting killed by the snake. Back at Screaming Hawk’s store, shows on a map where all the attacks had occurred and they realize that the town fair is right where the snake’s lair could be. At the fair, Unteka begins attacking and killing several people, including Fay. Les, Erin, and Screaming Hawk arrive and Erin rescues a kid that is stuck in a ride but ends up getting swallowed by Unteka. Les is about to give up but when he hears Erin calling out on the radio, he decides to go hunt the snake with Screaming Hawk. Following Unteka inside the haunted house but when the snake attacks them, Screaming Hawk ends up injured. Telling Les that he has to kill the snake and to not fear the heart of the snake, Les allows himself to be swallowed whole. As Unteka heads towards Screaming Hawk, it suddenly roars out in pain and collapses, and Les cuts his way out of it’s stomach. Handing Screaming Hawk the snake’s heart, he asks for help retrieving Erin, who hugs Les before they leave the haunted house. Some time later, Les and Erin are living at Les’ family home, having gotten married and having a child of their own.
You know, I expected a little more out of this movie. The acting was ok and I did think Michael Shanks did a good job as Les but nobody else really stood out, except for Nick Harvey (Cooley) and Harry Anichkin (Patterson), who made for some great comic relief. The story was pretty interesting but I think they kind of took the lazy route as to how the snake became a giant. The special effects weren’t the best, as there were several times where the CGI snake just didn’t quite sync well with the live action characters. And of course, there was Feedback, the winner from Who Wants To Be A Superhero. He only had a small part but hey, at least the superhero saved some kids from the snake, and he didn’t die in the process. All in all, an average movie featuring a not so average snake. It can keep you from being bored but it isn’t necessarily a must see.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5