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Friday, October 26, 2012

Hisss (2010) Horror Snake Goddess

Hisss (2010) - Sometimes a good story idea can be ruined by poor execution as is the case with this dud from writer / director Jennifer Lynch. The promising story idea of the Indian Snake Goddess Nagin being lured into the world of men through the capture of her snake lover certainly could have been a winner. Unfortunately the script meanders its way towards a conclusion that could have been a full thirty minutes before. The villian George States (Jeff Doucette) is so over the top it is distracting, and the nonverbal role for the immensely beautiful Snake Woman (Mallika Sherawat) misses more than it hits. She is in some scenes that are artful and interesting but there is so much of this material you find yourself wanting to fast forward. Still Sherawat has the beauty of a goddess and is a pleasure to look at.  While the lead cop Vinkram Gupta (Irrfan Khan) and his wife Maya (Divya Dutta) also giving solid performances of a couple struggling to have a child it is not enough to save the film. Maya's mother adds some off beat humor in her slightly off her rocker way. Compounding the problem in the script are some really horrible stereotypes of Indians being money grubbers only interested in cash as well as some of the worst practical and computer generated effect I have seen outside of  the SyFy channel.
  Getting back to the story, after getting the tale of the Snake Goddess, how if you capture her male snake mate, that she will change into a human and seek her lover. The captor could then compel her to vomit up the Naagmami stone and with it have eternal life. This is the plan for George States an American who has brain cancer and is running out of time. He has heard this story and is so desperate for a way to extend his life that he is willing to try anything. A total douche bag to the point of being a distraction he shows little or no concern for those helping him. In fact he is a violent fuck who will sacrifice anything and anyone to get his way. He of course is successful in his capture and so the story starts.
  The first time we see Nagin she is transforming from a snake into a human. She is writhing on the ground in the mud turning from King Cobra to naked human. The effects are pretty poor but compared to some later effects they are real winners. Inter-cut with scenes of Indians praying I suppose the transformation was supposed to seem very respectful and artsy but the bad computer graphics make that impossible. Once fully human Nagin needs to clean up, eat and head into town to find her lover.
  Naichi India is the town, where that festival where everyone dances around throwing brightly colored dyes on each other is in full swing.  There again is an artful attempt to create something beautiful onscreen, slow motion of people dancing in the festival mixed with the Nagin swaying to the music of a snake charmer. It is a valid attempt until the film breaks for a group dance sequence like you would see in a Bollywood film. It is totally out of place here and then we get a clunky transition to get back to our story. Nagin is noticed by two drunk revelers and is lured into an apartment. They plan to rape her which I want to point out is another stereotype put forth by the film. Men in India when not talking about how they want money are looking for ways to fuck women against their will. Things don't go well for the two as the Nagin transforms quickly into a giant computer generated snake. She kills one of her attackers with bites and then swallows the other whole. The snake charmer recognizes her for who she is and later will let States know she is coming.

  This is the tie in to Vinkram that the film needed, he is called in on the case and we will see he closes in on the Nagin as the Nagin closes in on States. This is really the rest of the film as the nonverbal snake Goddess moves ever closer to the American and the cops follow her path of bodies to the same place. Mixed in with this is the personal story of the cop and his wife, who are trying to have children without success. Irrfan Khan is a fine actor who conveys sensitivity and caring well in the scenes with his wife. The humor of the wife's slightly off her rocker Mother connects the couple to the Nagin through the prayers the older woman says to her idol of said goddess. Later the addition of a new partner for the cop seems more a comment on the nepotism of the Indian bureaucracy than a needed element in the story.
  The path to the final conflict has many strange turns and twist, including:
  •  The nude Nagin climbing a light pole in the night to warm her body under the light. 
  • The cops figuring out the digested remains of the guy the Nagin swallowed whole, including his cell phone ringing in the glob of clothes and hair.
  • States spending his time either abusing Indian workers or electrocuting the male snake to more quickly attract the Nagin.
  • The Nagin killing a woman who runs a shelter for abused woman in then sells the right to rape the women in her care to the evil Indian men who would do such things.
  • Finally reunited for a fleeting moments with her male who is dying there is this strange human snake dance thing that I really don't know why is there.
In the end the script by Lynch takes way to long to reach its conclusion. Mix this with the blatant anti Indian approach, where the male oriented culture is portrayed only in the negative. The portrayal of the American as the lowest of human beings, and over acted to the worst degree by Doucette. Add in the simply awful special effect and asides for artsy set pieces and you have a real turkey of a movie. So no recommendation from this blog for this film. It is a shame as Lynch got a fairly decent review of her film Surveillance (2008) here at Soresport Movies.
Rating (2.5) 5.0 and up are recommended some just more recommended than others

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