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Film / Snakes on a Plane

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"Enough is enough! I have HAD IT with these motherfuckin' snakes on this motherfuckin' plane! Everybody strap in; I'm about to open some fuckin' windows!"

The 2006 "Psychological Thriller" Snakes on a Plane does pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips), who becomes an accidental witness to a murder of a prosecutor, gets hunted by Hawaiian gangsters, so the FBI puts him under the escort of agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) as he flies from Hawaii to California to testify. The gangsters come up with an unusual method of trying to bring the plane down: they unleash motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane during the flight to try and bring it down before it gets to California. Lots of people die, sacrifices get made to save lives, and Flynn kicks reptilian ass.

The movie turned out exactly as ludicrous as the premise and title sound, and it reveled in its So Bad, It's Good-ness, with cheesy glowing effects, Gory Discretion Shots, and many snakes. When the studio wanted to give it a serious title (Pacific Air Flight 121) and turn it into a more serious horror/action film, Jackson suggested they change it back when the absurd title gained popularity with Internet nerds and became a huge online meme. The studio responded by turning the film into a dark-comedy horror/action film, refilmed several scenes to add new lines (including the now-infamous page-topping quotation), and had the rating upgraded from PG-13 to R to accommodate the newfound audience. While the nerd-hype failed to translate into large-scale box office success, Snakes on a Plane did ultimately make a profit.


In 2010, an actual plane crashed in the Congo due to a panic caused by an escaped crocodile. How many passengers survived? One (plus the crocodile, which an emergency response unit promptly slaughtered with machetes after arriving at the scene).

In 2012, it happened for real, though only one snake showed up. Then it happened again in Scotland. Again, only one showed up.

This time...

Snakes on a Plane provides examples of these motherfucking tropes (on this motherfucking site):

  • Animal Assassin: Taking this trope Up to Eleven is the whole point of the film.
  • Anyone Can Die: Well, except Neville Flynn and his charge. Honestly, it could be argued that there wasn't enough death in the film. Out of the twenty named characters on the plane, only eight die.
  • Armor Is Useless: Mentioned in the article, armor is often only useful when concealed. The witness is bitten by a snake that had escaped notice and turns out to be wearing body armor.
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  • Artistic License – Biology: Snakes in reality act NOTHING like the motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane. Then again, the pheromones and stuff, so it's also Artistic License – Chemistry. There's also a picture of a Scarlet King snake when the expert is looking through the world's most dangerous snakes - when it isn't venomous in real life.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • When Flynn and Claire are trying to pull the aircraft out of dive, the controllers show the plane going from 1344 feet to 591 feet in three seconds. This gives it a descent of 15,000 feet per minute, which would mean it has too much energy to be leveled off before it can hit the water.
    • Flynn tells the other passengers to hold their breaths before he shoots out the windows to depressurise the interior of the plane. Doing so would in fact cause lung overexpansion injuries (which is why scuba divers are taught to never hold their breaths).
  • Ascended Meme: Seemingly out of nowhere, the internet pounced upon the pitch and made it a Memetic Badass of a movie. With a proven audience, the obvious thing to do was to make it.
  • Asshole Victim: Paul, the obnoxious dog-hating businessman.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Paul the businessman was an arsehole through and through. When the snakes started attacking people, he callously threw Mercedes' dog to one of the snakes in an effort to distract them. He justified his actions by saying anyone would have done it and telling the devastated Mercedes that it was just a dog. For this act, Paul gets a satisfying and well-deserved death of being slowly crushed by a python, until he's bleeding from his orifices. All the while, the snake is staring at him and beginning to swallow him whole.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the very end of the movie, when the plane safely lands, Sean is about to exit the plane but one last snake appears suddenly, latching onto his chest. Neville thinks fast and shoots the snake dead... but hits Sean in the chest in the process. It briefly seems as if the whole movie was for nothing, until it's revealed that Sean was wearing a bullet proof vest and is just fine.
    Neville: Stings like hell, doesn't it?
    Sean: Yeah!
  • Becoming the Boast: All those flight hours Troy logged? They were on a PS2 game. Nevertheless, he's able to land the plane without killing anyone who didn't already die by snake.
  • Belly-Scraping Flight: Although the plane doesn't actually touch the water's surface, the near-fatal dive that Claire and Flynn have to pull up from comes so close that the jets' backwash sends up huge sprays of water in its wake.
  • Big Bad: Eddie Kim, the gangster who unleashed the snakes on the plane.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Several shots depict the snakes' POV with distorted, streaky monochrome, although it's unclear if the images are meant to incorporate vipers' thermographic senses or just snakes' meager eyesight.
  • Book-Ends: "What was the first thing I ever said to you?"
  • Bowdlerization:
    • FX had "monkey-fighting snakes" on a "Monday-to-Friday plane", followed by "freaking windows".
    • And that's not even HALF of it! For one, there's mention of a "Thai princess".
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted since all four black characters (Flynn, Three Gs, Troy and Big Leroy) manage to survive.
  • Camping a Crapper: The Death by Sex and Groin Attack victims are attacked in the airline's lavatory.
  • Camp Straight: The male flight attendant. Turns out he didn't make up his girlfriend.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The cobra drawing one of the little boys does in the middle of the movie which he uses to identify the snake that bit his brother at the end.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Troy is not a pilot but when both pilots are killed by motherfucking snakes, he is forced to land the motherfucking plane. Flynn even tells Mission Control this.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Flynn's "Enough is enough" rant. See the quotation above.
  • Continuous Decompression: The result of "open[ing] some fuckin' windows".
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: Inverted. The luggage inspection dogs detect the snakes, but the handlers think they're just barking at a hissing cat and move on. Come to think of it, the bad guys may have planted that cat there for that purpose.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Pointed out by numerous characters. There's no way anyone would see this coming, and as Flynn himself points out, the snakes don't even have to bite the witness. They can just as easily cause the plane to crash by getting in the wiring.
  • Death by Pragmatism: The poster child for this trope. If you're being attacked by hungry giant snakes, throwing a dog to them may not be the best choice.
  • Death by Sex: Among the innocent passengers on the plane are a young couple who are all over each other before the plane even takes off. Guess who dies first.
  • The Dreaded: Eddie Kim is nominally an "alleged" mobster, but in reality his criminal reputation is so well known and feared that even random civilians are shown to regard him with terror. When the passengers learn that Kim is responsible for releasing the snakes, the Jerkass businessman, who's not even from America, immediately assumes that everyone on the plane is doomed.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: This movie has snakes. Those snakes are on a plane. There's your premise. A shining example of this trope, which provides the image for that page, and was the main reason Samuel L. Jackson was involved.
  • Expy: According to the novelization, Mercedes is a hotel heiress, which, coupled with her love of tiny dogs, makes her an obvious one of Paris Hilton.
  • Eye Scream: Two in fact, a woman is bitten in the eye and a man is sprayed in the eyes with poison causing foam to pour from them.
  • Foreshadowing: Early in the film, it's established that Three G's dislikes being touched and is a bit of a germaphobe. Later in the film, when the air goes off in the plane, he's the one to snap and almost shoots Neville.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • At one point in the movie, a person picks up a snake and throws it into an oven in the airplane galley, then hits a random button and cooks the snake. Pause right as the finger is about to hit the button, and you'll see the button actually reads "Snake."
    • After Jackson "opens up a fucking window", when the python (which had previously eaten a man) gets sucked out, you can see a human shaped bulge in it.
  • Gag Boobs: The chick of the first couple to be killed has a pretty impressive rack. When they are attacked by snakes, one of them bites her on the nipple. The species of snake that bit her was apparently a 'milk snake'.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: The very effeminate air steward mentions his girlfriend a couple times. No one buys it. But subverted at the end, when his very real, very hot girlfriend shows up at the end and he kisses her passionately enough to kill all doubt.
  • Groin Attack: Victim number 3 learns the hard way why you should NOT use the toilet when there are motherfucking snakes on a motherfucking plane.
    "Fucking snake, get off my dick!"
  • Hand Wave:
    • The entire plot rests on Kim having apparently exhausted every normal option in trying to kill Sean.
    • The snakes' aggressive behavior is attributed to the giveaway leis having been sprayed with pheromones.
      Neville: Well, that's good news. Snakes on crack.
  • Hate Sink: Being a killer-animal story, there's Paul, a businessman who is obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious and only exists so the audience can cheer when he dies. In contrast, the guy who put the motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane simply disappears from the narrative entirely because there's no believable way to put him on the plane after takeoff, and extending the action beyond what the audience came for would have probably induced Ending Fatigue.
  • He Knows Too Much: Kim going after Sean.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The flight attendant who gets bitten while rescuing the baby.
  • High Concept: The entire concept is practically encapsulated in its title.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Love the film? Then you'll definitely love the bloopers.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Kenan Thompson's character (Troy) is called upon to land the plane after all of the snakes have been eradicated. He's been playing a PSP flight simulator throughout the trip, and he says he got his training from it... even though his brother has the high score. Also, he doesn't do an expert job, to say the least.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Used a lot.
  • Infant Immortality: Even if it takes a Heroic Sacrifice or two to maintain this trope. Although one kid did get bitten, albeit not killed.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Both the 'doctor' and 'pilot' variations of this question are asked in the film; unfortunately, the doctor had already been killed by the snakes when they had a chance to ask the question, and the only 'pilot' had only 'flown' on a flight simulator before now.
  • It's the Only Way:
    • Lampshaded: The villain releases a bunch of motherfucking snakes onto a single motherfucking plane to catch one kid who may have been the witness to the murder he committed. One of his lackeys questions whether or not it was all worth it, and he responds, "Don't you think I've exhausted every other option?!"
    • On the heroic side, Agent Flynn tells the plan to his superiors at the FBI, to which they respond, "What kind of insane plan is that?"
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • There's a staircase separating First Class. The aircraft is a 747-400, and the staircases had been discontinued at that point.
    • The young couple who do it in the bathroom first disable the smoke detector so they can smoke a joint. Doing that on a plane causes an alarm to go off.
    • Claire is able to enter the cockpit by use of a key pad. No aircraft has such a thing, as it would defeat the purpose of a security door. The cabin door is controlled electronically by the flight deck crew only.
    • There's a blackout in the plane when the power goes out. All planes have emergency lights on battery power that come on automatically.
    • The controllers refer to "19,000 feet", when the actual expression they would use is "flight level, one-niner zero".
    • Air traffic controllers never give pilots instructions on how to fly their planes.
  • Kick the Dog: A quite literal example appears when the motherfucking snakes are let loose on the motherfucking plane and one businessman throws a Spoiled Sweet's chihuahua into their path so that he can get himself out of there safely. Made especially bad as the dog in question had earlier saved its owner by driving the snakes away from her while she was unconscious, and to top it off it was a futile move as the massive snake swallowed it whole in less time than it took to throw the poor thing. Have a nice Karmic Death, buddy!
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Crime boss Eddie Kim is shown practicing karate while ordering the titular plan. It doesn't really mean anything to the plot.
  • Mile-High Club: The first victims on the plane are a young couple who try to have sex in the bathroom. Two of the flight attendants overhear the snakes attacking them and think it's just really aggressive foreplay.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The film's only plot twist.
  • The Mockbuster: The Asylum's Snakes on a Train. Totally not kidding. Then you have Cats on a Plane.
  • Nerd: Averted. Dr. Steven Price, the snake expert consulted by the FBI, is a bit eccentric (what PhD isn't?), but is professional, calm and collected, basically gives the FBI their most important leads and greatly assists medical personnel with treatment. He manages to communicate his expertise to laypeople quickly, in terms they understand, without coming across as an arrogant asshole or using Spock Speak — professional, but clearly understands that people's lives are at stake. Dr. Price should be the model for film scientists everywhere.
  • One-Liner:
    • Other than the infamous "Enough is enough! I have had it with these muthafuckin' snakes on this muthafuckin' plane!", there's also Flynn's "ALL PRAISES TO THE PLAYSTATION!"
    • "Great, snakes on crack!"
  • Oscar Bait: Played for Laughs during the MTV Movie Awards:
    Samuel L. Jackson: I'm here tonight to present the award everyone's been waiting for: best movie. This award holds a special place in my heart because next year I'll be winning it for Snakes on a Plane. Now I know, I know that sounds cocky, but I don't give a damn. I'm guaranteeing that Snakes on a Plane will win best movie next year. Does not matter what else is coming out. New James Bond... no snakes in that! Ocean's Thirteen... where my snakes at? Shrek the Third... green, but not a snake. No movie shall triumph over Snakes on a Plane. Unless I happen to feel like making a movie called Mo' Motha-fuckin' Snakes on Mo' Motha-fuckin' Planes.
  • Pac-Man Fever: A console flight sim isn't complex enough to teach anyone how to fly a plane. A game like Microsoft Flight Simulator might, but there aren't really any flight games on consoles sophisticated enough to simulate real flight; it would be the equivalent of learning how to drive with Grand Theft Auto V.
  • Product Placement:
    • Taken to an absurd extreme, from the slow-motion drinking of Red Bull in the opening sequence to the Pepsi bottle careening toward the camera on a steward's cart.
    • Forget that, there's one shot where someone opens their MacBook laptop, causing the entire Apple logo to fill the screen for a solid three seconds.
    • "All praises to the PlayStation!"
    • Averted with the flight simulator Troy mentions as it doesn't exist.
  • Red Herring: One of the passengers is an Asian guy with tattoos and a suspicious arm wound, he looks like he'd be the kind of guy Eddie Kim would employ. But, it turns out he's just another passenger in danger like the rest of them. He even saves someone from a snake with his bare hands.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The villain's plan: it's such a ridiculous plan, who would ever have seen it coming, believed it, or safeguarded against it?
    "Don't you think I exhausted every other option?!"
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: But they're not the only ones in this movie who are...
  • Retirony: Two stewardesses are on their last flight. It's pretty much a given that the one who specifically mentions that they put off retiring for one last flight is going to die. The other one is planning on retiring to go to law school (as opposed to outright retiring). She lives.
  • Rule of Cool: The entire premise of the movie.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: One of the snakes that invades the cockpit is a Gaboon viper.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Tiffany and Claire both certainly qualify.
  • The Sociopath: Eddie Kim, a crime boss who is willing to massacre a plane with vicious snakes to eliminate one witness.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: In full effect. Start with Death by Sex, followed by Retirony, followed by the man who throws a dog at the snakes.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Mercedes seems like a ditzy Valley Girl but she's a nice, sweet woman all the same.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Maria gargles olive oil and attempts to suck out the poison from one wound. At least she makes an incision over the blister where he was bitten.
  • Terrified of Germs: The rapper is very much so.
  • Together in Death: Among the passengers are a pair of newlyweds flying back from their honeymoon. They get bitten around the same time and die in each other's arms.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: One of the most exaggerated examples ever conceived.
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: When Paul the businessman is told that First Class is unavailable, he complains that he won't be able to reach his meeting on time. The stewardess snarks that the plane will arrive at the same time regardless of his seating arrangements. Mercedes is a bit better, though she asks if Coach is safe.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • The TV broadcast version gave us this line:
    Flynn: Enough is enough! I have HAD IT with these monkey-fightin' snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane! Everybody strap in; I'm about to open some freaking windows!
    • And, even more weirdly, "Son of a Basque!"
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Eddie Kim, the gangster who released the snakes, disappears completely from the film after releasing said eponymous limbless reptiles onto the aforementioned fixed-wing aircraft. But it's mentioned that, in their hunt to find the antivenom, the authorities gathered enough evidence to charge Eddie with attempted murder for the whole the point that his only choices after a trial will be the needle or the gas chamber. The novelization actually has him tortured to death by a sexy, sadistic Triad assassin sent by his superiors. She chains him to a hotel bed and threatens to inject him with pure cobra venom, albeit after doing things to him that she claims will have him begging for the venom before she's through.
  • Voodoo Shark: The snakes being so vicious is explained by pheromones, which still raises questions.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The other FBI agent with Flynn is ophidiophobic. And man-oh-man, is he ever in the wrong movie.

I've had it with these motherfucking tropes in this motherfucking article! Everybody press the 'Back' button! I'm about to open some new fucking pages.


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