Exotic Hawaii is the destination for Professor Lovegrove (Michael Madsen), a scientist explorer type who discovers a nest of eggs from a rare creature, thought to be mythological. But he might end up with egg on his face if the beast they originally belonged to finds out about his discovery. Also in the vicinity are a film crew who are taking the opportunity to make the splatter movie Head Chopper 3, unaware of the impending horrors that awaiting their production – even more than their financers stopping the shoot. Initially they have concerns about a group of maniac hoodlum kidnappers who are seeking ransoms from those connected with the film, but the real threat to all the parties is far more worrying. Yes, fangs are the order of the day as these various groups are vulnerable to savage attack from a more ancient source. The monsters are enormous and can obliterate their prey with ease. They are part piranha and part anaconda – a piranhaconda – and they’re in a stinking mood.

The film’s title alone suggests that the contents are going to do exactly what it says on the tin. Piranhaconda is designated to convey to its potential viewers an enticing combination of Anaconda (Luis Llosa [1997]) and Piranha (Joe Dante [1978] or Alexandre Aja [2010], take your pick). Add in a bunch of names associated with this sort of production: Roger Corman, producer of Piranha, has executive producer credit here, while director Jim Wynorski is known for his entertaining film titles, often of the exploitation variety (Chopping Mall [1986], Vampirella [1996] and numerous entries in the Bare Wench Project series), as well as Sharktopus (2010) writer Mike MacLean and you pretty much know what to expect. Piranhaconda’s film-within-a-film proudly declares itself to be an exploitation film: ‘It is not a B-movie we’re making, its exploitation,’ they cry with glee and the film’s tagline ‘Half Fish, Half Snake… All Death!’ recalls a similar premise in Joe Dante’s Matinee (1993) and it’s film-within-a-film, Mant.

Piranhaconda wears its B-movie badge with a knowing love of genre, particularly with respect to the characters, their chance of surviving to the closing credits and whether anything they decide to do will have any relevant purpose other than to set up the next shocking sequence. So will the director of the film (in the film not of the film) survive? Or will Michael Madsen’s top-billed scientist make it through to the end? Who cares? It’s all part of the schlocky fun.

The technical aspects of this genre have moved on since the video boom of the 1980s and the CGI beasts on show make this a giant monster movie that is removed from Kaiju tradition and much more modern in its portrayal. This is where we see big snakes munching on multiple members of the cast, spewing masses of blood and body parts from their jaws. Knowingly cheap and nasty with gore aplenty and a cast who endeavour to survive the film as long as the characters (whether in the film they are meant to be shooting or not) they are portraying do, Piranhaconda offers nothing of particular merit save enjoyment in its entertainment value and a giant fish-snake killing spree every few minutes. Dumb, but fun.