Deep Sea Mutant Snake (2022) Review
Deep Sea Mutant Snake, (深海蛇难, Deep Sea Snake Disaster) is the latest giant serpent film to slither out of China. Out of all of the various kaiju films the Chinese have been producing, why giant snakes are such an overwhelming favourite I’m not sure although Freud probably would have something to say about it.
As with so many monster movies, Deep Sea Mutant Snake begins with an experiment gone wrong. So badly wrong that Cass Corporation decides to kill not only the test animals but the scientists working on the project as well. Unfortunately, the two largest subjects refuse to die and exert some kind of telepathic control over the normal-sized snakes. The project leader (Waise Lee, The Legend Of Aquawitch, Fierce Cop) escapes the ensuing massacre, the rest aren’t so lucky.
Meanwhile, onboard a cruise ship someone is taking pictures of Qin Yu (Yi Xin Zhao, Assassin’s Game, Big Red Envelope) is following Jason, a former Cass employee who has information on the company’s crimes, including the death of Quin’s fiance. Quin is, in turn, stalked by Feng Li (Jia Yi Li, Reunion 2: Mystery of the Abyss, Swords Drawn), a reporter looking for a story.
Usually, these films run out of steam after the six-minute preview window. Director Wu Yang (Deep Water Beast Eyes, Triple Identity) and writer Ma Huaichang keep Deep Sea Mutant Snake moving along for twice that before slowing down a bit to introduce the three leads. And then things quickly pick up again as the ship comes under attack by sea snakes under the command of the two giant snakes.
Granted all the running around the ship’s corridors, which look more like an office building than anything sea-going, during the Snakes on a Ship part of the movie gets a bit repetitive. But the overacting of the snakebite victims keeps it amusing in a perverse sort of way while the survivors navigate the usual cliches such as the child who’s lost its parents, the asshole who locks himself in a “safe” space and leaves the others to fend for themselves, the woman who looks like she’s about to fall out of her dress but never does, etc.
The effects Deep Sea Mutant Snake’s makers use to show us all of this vary greatly in quality. Most of the shots of the more dragon-like of the two giants are acceptable enough, but in some shots, the other creature has an odd texture to it and looks more like a rubber snake from the toy store than the real thing. The various island creatures they encounter, killer barnacles, a giant spider, etc are all fairly well done.
The filmmakers had the good sense to keep the number of small snakes in a scene relatively low so they usually look good. Unfortunately, the shots of actors with live snakes look like they were shot with small garter snakes and don’t match the effects. Even worse is a life raft that seems to magically pop out of its storage container.
Overall though Deep Sea Mutant Snake is better than most of the creature features to come from China. There’s plenty of action to keep your mind off of the plot holes and cliches. The characters are fairly bland and it’s easy to tell who is merely snake food, who will die heroically, and who gets to live. As an added bonus, the obnoxious comic relief moments are kept to a minimum. It’s not quite as much fun as Rising Boas in a Girl’s School but it’s still worth your time.
Deep Sea Mutant Snake is available as a premium selection on Youku’s streaming platform The trailers are on Youku’s YouTube channel so it should turn up there eventually. In the meantime, FilmTagger can recommend some similar titles.