NNEKA THE PRETTY SERPENT MOVIE REVIEW

By Morris Abdul Newton

Dir: Tosin Igho

Starring: Idia Aisien, Bimbo Ademoye, Ndidi Obi, Kenneth Okiolie, Bovi Ugboma, Ray Emodi, Charles Inojie, Beverly Naya, Beverly Osu, Waje, Zack Orji, Keppy Ekpeyong, Larry Gaga, Shaffy Bello, Judith Audu… 125minute

On their third outing, Play Network Studios decided to go with Tosin Igho’s mercurial directorial touch. This is also Tosin’s third outing on the feature film front.

Back when it was announced that Tosin would be handling this film, I really did wonder if he wasn’t better suited to fast paced action gigs as against horror flicks, but then when you see the movie, you would understand why this should or shouldn’t have happened depending on how you see it. More on this later.

Nneka, The Pretty Serpent tells the story of Nneka (Idia Aisien), who after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child, has revenge on her mind. Her encounter with the Queen Mother (Ndidi Obi) sets her on a mission to take out everyone involved in their death with the help of the Queen Mother’s powers.

The remake of a classic is always tricky and that’s why it requires more than a hundred percent or the audience would be coming for your head. Zeb Ejiro’s ‘Nneka, The Pretty Serpent’ was one of the standouts of the horror flick genre back in the day, but it’s hard to tell where exactly Tosin Igho’s film stands. Its blend of the thriller, horror and action genre doesn’t uplift simply because the film does no justice to any of the genres.

The cinematography, which is somewhat Tosin’s strong point, didn’t suffer, but sound did. Sound did so bad that it was horrific. The sound tracks also didn’t quite make it for me. It would have flooded the movie with some extra character. A very needed character indeed for the kind of flick this is, but it was non-existent.

‘Nneka, The Pretty Serpent’ was slow, dour and forced. Even the action sequences didn’t quite move me.

Again, I like the idea of putting on atleast a member of the old cast. Ndidi Obi (former Nneka) was cast as Queen Mother in this flick. But casting her was much of a gamble, especially when the filmmakers stood the risk of the audience juxtaposing and comparing the past with the present.

Now, let’s talk Idia’s performance as Nneka. For her first film performance and as the star character in a femme fatale horror flick at that, she seemed quite on for it. Idia has the looks and all but then the carriage and appeal wobbled just a bit. There’s a level of appeal that Nneka holds. Don’t get me wrong, Idia did quite well but there was more. This is not entirely her fault as it also calls to question what the director was trying to achieve with the character. I believe if Idia continues in this line, she would come through a whole lot better.

The acting wasn’t bad from all the other actors but there were too many to follow. There was basically no use for some of the characters we saw as they added nothing to the film.

I found it difficult to understand why Tony (Kenneth Okolie) wasn’t reacting to the fact that people were dropping dead around him. Literally almost everyone, but Nneka and the man didn’t even act like anything was happening. It was as if good juju was used on him but nothing of the sort really happened.

Bovi as the Detective came with a character I quite liked but the script did nothing with this character. The detective was too underutilized that it was painful to watch. I never got to find his use but for the hilarity he brings when he’s asking for a pen or showing his ID. This is not to make a mockery of Bovi’s attempt at playing the role, but to emphasize that the role was really no role in the real context of what the role was supposed to be. There were places where the detective would have naturally shined but nobody wrote it. Why we keep having figure head detectives or Police officers in our movies beats me. The scene where the Detective had an encounter with the Coroner (Judith Audu) was unnecessary and confusing especially when you find that the so-called discovery (snake bite and skin residue in the nails) from that scene were never used in the movie. This and more made it more hilarious when the detective made his “discovery” later on from watching a footage and exclaimed, “It’s a woman!” Really?!

NNEKA THE PRETTY SERPENT

It’s increasingly becoming painfully obvious that the production values of Play Network Studios’ movies are dropping. We are only just three movies in and the values aren’t buzzing. There seems to be a lack of care and less attention to the details paid LIB. And this is not even because LIB is pristine. It isn’t. This isn’t about the glitz and the glamour. It’s about real work from script to post. What is the essence of pumping so much money into films that end up unsatisfactory in the story and execution department? Even if you are cool with spending your money that way, how about the audience that is supposed to spend to watch it?

Again, I ask, why are we having cross overs? Is there a big picture in mind? A ‘Play Universe’ perhaps? A world where Richard Williams, Ahanna and Nneka are all members of ‘The Six’? Hmmm.

The end of the movie actually almost made me weep because of how bad it was. For the life of me, I never expected it would be that bad, but then they managed to insult every fiber of my being. This movie probably shouldn’t have happened. That’s how I see it.

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