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Snakes on a Plane

Genre: Action / Horror
Rated: R
Directed by
: David R. Ellis
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Kenan Thompson
Released by: New Line Cinema

In Short: In case the title isn't descriptive enough, poisonous snakes loose on a plane make for an instant horror classic with a slightly campy edge.

Screaming into Movie History
“Snakes” Strikes Gold
by Jenny Peters

Once in a blue moon, the pre-release hype around a movie is actually on the money. That's the case with “Snakes on a Plane,” one of the most talked-about films of the summer (on the Internet, at least). It was a no-brainer that a title like that would grab people's attention, especially fans of the action-horror genre; but it's another thing altogether for it to deliver a fun flick that stands up to what our imaginations created from that evocatively simple title.

Samuel L. Jackson stars as FBI agent Nelville Flynn, assigned to bring a witness for the prosecution (Nathan Phillips) to Los Angeles to testify against a ruthless, murdering drug kingpin (Byron Lawson). When they catch a commercial red-eye flight from Honolulu to L.A., they think they are safe for the next five hours. But the drug lord has inside info about their itinerary and loads the jumbo jet's cargo hold full of poisonous snakes and makes sure to get them hyper-excited before they are set loose. Thus, the stage is set for “Snakes on a Plane.”

Director David Ellis strikes just the right tone for this scary, funny, sometimes campy flick that taps into everyone's worst nightmare; for what could be worse than being trapped on a plane with hundreds of ticked-off killer snakes?

Naturally, the passengers are a cross-section of classic characters: from the fraidy-cat flyer on his honeymoon to the mother with a baby, the small kids traveling alone, the fashionista with the yappy dog (uh-oh!), the fastidious rap star and his burly bodyguards, right down to the stoner couple determined to join the mile-high club. Predicting who lives and who dies is half the fun of the film, while the other half is hearing yourself shriek along with everyone else in the audience as scream-and-squirm-inducing scenes come fast and furious.

Add in a couple of classic and unprintable lines, along with iconic scenes (there's a bathroom sequence that will make every man in the audience cross his legs and cry), and “Snakes on a Plane” does what every truly great horror movie before it has done. It slithers under your skin and delivers!


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