Twitter Plot Summary: More giant snakes, more silly action, more bad CGI sequences. Just more bad in general.
Shot back to back with Anaconda 3, this is the first in the series to feature recurring characters, and it’s arguable as to whether or not this is a good thing. Crystal Allen is back as guilt-ridden scientist Amanda, as is Jonathan Rhys Davies as dying (and clueless) millionaire Murdoch, the man funding the research into the blood orchid that may be able to save or at the very least extend his life.
The story continues a short time after the end of Offspring, with three separate groups coming together in the woods of Romania – Eastern Europe seems to be the best place to shoot if you want to make something on the cheap. Two groups of scientists have an unfortunate encounter with mercenaries hired by Murdoch, and yet another entirely CGI snake that has a yearning for human flesh. And now, apparently, the ability to regenerate and create duplicate versions of itself which is an even sillier concept than you can imagine. No, in fact it’s exactly as silly as you can imagine. It’s almost as bad as the efforts made to jazz up the Tremors franchise by giving the graboids new abilities with each successive film. The difference there being the Tremors films aren’t anywhere near as bad as this.
More cheap effects have been reused from Anaconda 3, most notably the badly composited car journeys where a blatant CGI background flies by as the actors try and pretend they’re in a moving vehicle. It’s not as blatant as the classic Star Trek method of having the actors throw themselves in the opposite direction to the camera to simulate an impact, but it’s not far off. The difference here between part 3 and part 4 is that Offspring was cheesy fun whereas Trail of Blood is unbearably bad. The giant anacondas looked bad in the first one way back in 1997, yet somehow they appear to have become gradually more ridiculous and cheap-looking as time has gone on. By Trail of Blood, a mere five years ago at the time of writing, the snakes have regressed into what looks like a child’s interpretation of how a giant animated snake should look. If you can’t make it look half decent in the first place, why bother?
It seems that everybody has a habit of dropping things too. Barely five minutes goes by without someone losing a potentially valuable object that they might need to use in a few minutes. They realise at a critical moment that they no longer have said object, and stare with exasperation into the middle distance. This happens so often it makes you want to hand them a utility belt or similar just to save them a few bob from all the equipment they keep losing and no doubt have to repurchase.
As you may have guessed, Anaconda 4 did not go down well. After the fun tone to Anaconda 3 it makes you wonder what was lost between the two films, especially as they were made back to back. The answer? The Hoff isn’t in this, and somehow, inexplicably, it shows.