Pop Culture Gadabout
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
      ( 6/09/2009 07:03:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"IT'S GOT THE SLIME CARPET LAID OUT FOR US!" Co-produced by and starring rapper DMX, Carnivorous is a big-snake low-budgeter that pits the title lead (check out how the opening credits make it read as if the movie's title is DMX Carnivorous instead of just Carnivorous) and a group of disposable irritating teens against an inconsistently-sized CGI creature named "Lockjaw."

Said part snake/part alligator was first conjured up in the wilds by a southern boy named Alan Cade to dispose of his abusive drunk of a father. After stealing a demonic pencil from a local juju man named Crazy Kirabo, young Alan takes out his drawing pad and sketches an image of his redneck pappy getting his head chomped by Lockjaw. This naturally brings the voodoo loa to life and sends Daddy to a worthy unseen demise.

Cut to twenty years later, and that imaginative little kid is now a balding married shlub living with his wife on the same family farm. Alan (Louis Herthum) pulls out the writing implement, called a Kulev Stick by the voodoo priest's now-grown grandson (DMX), after a group of vacationing teens heedlessly run his wife over with their pick-'em-up truck. These kids are so clueless that they don't even know they've hit the poor woman (later we're told that the truck has truly "awesome" shocks), while Alan is so sharp-eyed that he's able to pick out all five kids sitting in the truck for his summoning drawing. Whenever one of these privileged little snots gets chomped on by the big bad, their piece of the drawing turns all red. "You drew us to death; that sucks!" the least offensive of the quintet accuses the now guilt-stricken Alan.

Name-above-the-title DMX doesn't do a whole lot in the movie until its unconvincingly mounted finale. At one point we see him pointlessly hacking his way through a field with his machete and then later buying a bazooka from two unexplained arms dealers. Gets to fire the bazooka at the beastie, of course, but since this is a magical creature, we already know That Trick Never Works. It's never really explained why he decides to help the teens in the first place -- or why his grandpappy didn't retrieve the Kulev Stick from little boy Alan after he'd used it the first time. All that matters is he's there to look Street in the middle of the rural South.

Most of the movie's main focus remains on the doomed teen "pork loins," of course, who drink and carouse and make the obligatory arrogant anti-Southern slurs. ("Don't forget to brush your teeth -- where we're going, there aren't too many of 'em, y'all!") For you Friday the 13th buffs, there's even a death-while-coupling scene, though for it to work, the snake has to shrink down a bit. (Magical monster, right?) Another character gets beheaded by what I think is supposed to be the beast's tail, though the effect isn't all easy to suss out.

"Don't forget," our hero tells the surviving teens just before the movie's unconvincing showdown, "at the end of the day, it's just a snake -- a really messed-up snake!" If I was given the cover art in a movie this fangless, I'd be messed-up, too.


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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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