film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Silent Predators 1999 * * * Stars


"We're dealing with something very different". Uh yeah. Big-arse rattlesnakes that kill with one bite. They terrorize a California burgh in 1999's Silent Predators.

Watching "Predators", you realize that it's a restricted budget trope that tried like heck to make it to the big screen (hey, at least you can still get it on DVD). Howbeit, star Harry Hamlin and some other B-listers confidently wink to the audience. They're in something that could easily be called Snakes on the Plains (not plane), Jaws with venom, or Arachnophobia without all those eight legged freaks.

Silent Predators is a horror thriller that lays out the blueprint for most horror thrillers. You have the small town terrorized by deadly brutes. You have the mayor who wants to keep things quiet and not shut said town down. You have the Everyman who won't die and is there to save the day. Finally, you have the opening scene kill that is revisited about 45 minutes in. Notice I haven't said that these are bad things. Whatever Silent Predators pseudo pirates, it rewards itself. Hiss hiss rattle rattle!

"Predators" starts out with one or two snakes before you get the whole kit and caboodle. And guess what, they look real, somewhat Hitchcockian in how they appear, and non-CGI'd (how refreshing). In truth, this film is a series of snake attacks that are fodder for producing solid payoffs. Not overly gory, these payoffs are all more hair-raising than the next.

As for the script to Predators, well it was penned by five people (one of which is John Carpenter). It has just the right amount of chutzpah, wit, and reptile speak. I mean there's not too much technobabble here cause what counts is the suspense. Along with Noel Nosseck's atmospheric direction and Michael Tavera's stirring musical score, Silent Predators is a rise above creature feature with a sophisticated, TV feel. "Silent heat".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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