Story: Commander O’Neill (Luke Perry) runs a tight ship, quite literally, as he is in charge of a submarine headed to be decommissioned. On the way, he is tasked to pick up some passengers, a couple of scientists who a need a ride home and of course, he obliges. Of course, he also doesn’t know the full story behind the scientists, as they happen to have brought a slew of snakes on board, including some very toxic ones. So when people begin suffering from mysterious bites, no one can figure out what’s going on, except for the rogue scientists who smuggled the snakes in. But Dr. Swanson (Krista Allen) wants to help right the wrongs of her problematic colleague, so she works alongside O’Neill and his crew to stop the snakes, but is it already too late?
Entertainment Value: If the idea of Luke Perry battling snakes on a submarine interests you, then Silent Venom is your movie, as that is the basic premise here. Of course, beyond that fun concept, there isn’t much else here to praise, so I hope you really want to see Luke Perry on a submarine trying to survive an onslaught of snakes. The narrative is passable for this kind of movie, as it at least kind of makes sense, though the script doesn’t do much after the snakes are introduced. I don’t need a strong narrative to enjoy a movie where snakes slither out of control however, so the mediocre writing wasn’t a deal breaker, as long as the snakes delivered. I do have to say, Silent Venom unleashes a lot of snakes, all terrible CGI snakes, but a lot of snakes, so I was happy with the quantity involved, but the quality of how the snakes were used leaves a lot to be desired. The kills are tame and not creative, while the general tone fails to either embrace the wackiness of the premise or run with unintentional humor, save a few scenes that spark a chuckle. I like the concept here, but Silent Venom just isn’t fun to watch and for this genre, that’s a mortal sin.
The snakes are the true draw for Silent Venom, but a better than expected ensemble has been put together on the human side of the cast as well. Krista Allen is always a welcome inclusion and she performs well, given the material involved. I wish she could have dialed up her turn or ran more with the b movie elements, as she has shown she can camp it up in her Lifetime thrillers. That kind of energy was badly needed in this production, but while she is capable in her role, the movie never lets her cut loose or turn up the camp value. Luke Perry has the lead however and he plays it serious throughout, making for a dull, forgettable performance. I emphasize serious, as he does keep a straight face, but his effort here is low and this seems to be a phoned in effort. That’s a shame, as these b movies can often be platforms for memorable turns from fading stars, but Perry just seems disinterested. The cast also includes Louis Mandylor, Tom Berenger, and John L. Curtis.