Hoping to save their crumbling marriage, Gwynneth joins her husband, Adam, as he embarks on a wildlife research expedition. The romantic bliss of the wilderness suddenly turns into a fatal moment of reckoning, as the couple awaken to find a deadly snake trapped in their tent. With certain death looming, Gwynneth and Adam spiral into a dark and dangerous game of survival, twisted by heated confessions of temptation and betrayal.
From writer/director Amanda Evans, Serpent is an intense thriller starring Tom Ainsley (Adam) and Sarah Dumont (Gwynneth) as a couple on the rocks out to put some adventure back into their marriage. What Adam doesn't realise is that his unfaithful wife is only joining the trip to escape her lover, who has become increasingly aggressive after Gwynneth gets cold feet. Fearful that the two will meet, she insists on joining her husband on his expedition.
Now, this review is going to be far more spoiler-filled than what I usually write, but only because the trailer pretty much summarises the film for you anyway — we know the plot going in and there are no real twists or turns for me to give away. I was thinking that perhaps the film would take some kind of supernatural turn due to the nature of the themes involved, but that doesn't happen.
The film was shot at Suicide Gorge in the gorgeous Western Cape of South Africa; a place very close to my heart. I've actually spent some time at the location, and it is just as beautiful as the film makes it out to be. From a technical standpoint, there is very little to fault. The acting is fantastic, with both Ainsley and Dumont giving great performances. The set and cinematography are amazing, with some really clever and well-crafted camera tricks and fantastic editing. The visuals are clean and powerful, and Evans really knows how to craft beautiful shots and scenes.
As mentioned earlier, the trailer pretty much sums up the film — but if you enjoyed the trailer, you are going to adore the movie. While simple enough plot wise, there are some subtle (OK, maybe not so subtle) themes that add a new dimension to the film: Genesis. We have Adam (surprise!), a man who loves nature and who wants to be with his wife in an Eden like land. We have his wife who betrays her promises to him and due to her partaking of the forbidden fruit, brings the serpent into their bed. We have the serpent, a physical and metaphorical danger that can destroy the very world that they knew before. It's not a perfect analogy, but it could be argued that the film itself is a modern-day remake of the biblical tale.
My only major gripe with the film is that it's a lot of movie for what ultimately is a pretty short story. You're not going to sink your teeth into this if you after something fast paced or action packed — it's intentionally slow, giving time for the despair, depression, damnation and deceit to works its way into the blood stream. There are a few of those edge-of-your-seat moments, but it's more about turmoil and tension than scares and screams.
Overall, Serpent is a well-crafted film with a clever theme, stellar casting, a scaly antagonist and a beautiful backdrop. It runs slow at times and will not be a favourite with the general horror audience, but it's an objectively good movie all things considered, just not really my personal taste. Catch the trailer below (for most of the film) and as always, thanks for reading. Stay sordid.
Serpent is available for Digital Download from 15th October
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