Taking the Hiss
I want to know, did they start out with the intention to make a movie which knows it's bad it makes fun of itself or did it just happen, did they suddenly realise during production that "Snakes on a Plane" was bad and the only way to salvage it was to poke fun at itself. I'm not sure but which ever it is "Snakes on a Plane" ends up entertaining for basically being bad, not just being a bad idea but also bad when it pokes fun at itself. As such you stop caring about the story and just sit back for the next moment of corny, self parodying humour be it a moment of dialogue or a comically grizzly death. And the irony is that "Snakes on a Plane" becomes so entertaining for being so bad that you actually would watch it again.
When adrenalin Junkie Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) witnesses Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson) murdering a high profile prosecutor he finds his life in danger especially when he agrees to fly back to LA with Agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson - Freedomland) to testify to what he witnessed. But that is if he gets to LA as on the plane, which is also carrying civilians, are hundreds of snakes ramped up on pheromones who wreak havoc as they kill whoever gets in their way. With the plane out of control Agent Flynn must take control and try and protect not only Sean but also the surviving passengers.
For the first 20 minutes "Snakes on a Plane" gives us not one but two set ups. The initial one which is handled in a comically quick manner sees adrenalin junkie Sean Jones witnessing a murder and ends up in FBI protection all thanks to his fingerprints on a drinks can. The secondary set up is more classical disaster movie as we meet the various people who will be flying on the same plane as Sean and Agent Flynn. They are a comically varied bunch from a moaning Brit to an IT girl with her pooch in her purse, plus a germ phobic rapper and a couple of kids. It's actually a little strange because the set up with Sean is semi serious yet all the passengers are more comical.
Anyway set up quickly dealt with it doesn't take long for "Snakes on a Plane" to get to the meat of the story and that is as you can guess the snakes on the plane. Now let me just say who ever was responsible for the various gruesome death scenes has one sick sense of humour as we have a couple in a toilet joining the mile high club where she is topless, another bloke in another toilet and I can bet in both scenes you can guess where the snakes choose to sink their fangs. That's not the worst as there are a whole series of comically gruesome snake bites which make you laugh more than shock you. And of course with these angry snakes things turn to chaos, pilots die, the air conditioning fails and Agent Flynn has to take control.
Now all of this snake induced chaos gets dafter and dafter, death scenes become even more comical, the characters become even more over the top and the danger spirals out of control with no one to fly the plane. But it is not just what happens that becomes more comical as the dialogue becomes incredibly more comical going way past the point of just being corny to intentionally bad. And the daft thing is that whilst all of this is going on, and basically repeats itself over and over again as one snake attack follows another it becomes daftly entertaining. You get to the point where you know how it will end but you want to know how comically bad and comically gruesome it can get before it finally gets there.
Adding to the whole comedy of it are the various CGI snakes and I am sure the intention was to make them standout as being false just to add to the laughs. Yet strangely there are times when a snake scene does give you a fright, from them slithering out of the air vents to them suddenly jumping out of a dark place there are some surprising frights.
As for the acting well most of the cast are background noise, they are either victims or survivors who usually get one scene or two to make some form of comically over dramatic contribution. And even the likes of Julianna Margulies as air stewardess Claire and Nathan Phillips as Sean don't have much to do. But then there is king of cool Samuel L. Jackson as agent Flynn who all you have to imagine is a more self depreciating version of John McLaine and you have both a great actor and an amusing character whose violent outbursts of "Mother f......." just add to the hilarity.
What this all boils down to is that whether intentional or not the creators of "Snakes on a Plane" have created a movie so bad that it not only ends up entertaining but a movie you want to watch again. It's so comically corny with a few frights that long before you hit the mid way point you have given up watching it for the story and are just embracing the utter daftness of it all.