DATELINE: Best Actor for Mamba
The Serpent is an effort under 90-minutes that tries to rejuvenate an old Hitchcock claustrophobic situation.
Two people are stuck in a small tent with a black mamba.
Well, okay, we are ready to give it a go: it seems a shorthand for giving us the creeps. Since most people have a great disdain for snakes, you immediately build in a horrid, bone chilling concept.
Like all movies of this sort like Snakes on a Plane, the first 30 minutes is exposition on what is the set up. Director Amanda Evans has her snake and cake too. From the get-go, you have role reversals. The husband is at home making dinner, and the philandering wife is now being pursued by her stalking boyfriend.
Oh, yes, the husband happens to be an etymologist with creeping insects at his research heart. He plans to go out on a highly important trip somewhere to the outback of South Africa (well, you don’t find black mambas in upstate New York).
The wife is American, and the husband is one of those bland scientists who looks like a boy scout. He dumps his co-scientist and takes his wife to the Edenic wilderness. Big mistake and rather unprofessional.
By now you realize the husband is named Adam, and the wife is named Gwynn. The serpent is named mamba. He warns her that a little birdie will go crazy if there are snakes around, but she never notices—and leaves the tent flap open during a bush visit.
Suffice it to say, the best performer here is the snake. With his open mouth and smiling visage, he seems to coil around the naked bodies with all the perversity of Jack the Ripper. He’s the star.
While using his wife’s phone for a nightlight, hubby Adam finds texts from her boyfriend. Talk about a night killer.
There’s a biblical story in here somewhere.