Once upon a time, an insane Christian book that claimed the devil created football as a tool to destroy humanity trended on the internet. I did the dirty work of actually reading and recapping it. The article was so popular that I decided to make my recaps into a weekly series named “So You Don’t Have To“, where I find batshit crazy pieces of media (books, movies, etc) and recap them for your pleasure.
Today, I’ll be recapping the 2020 remake of the Nollywood movie, “Nneka the Pretty Serpent.”
Brooke Lynn Hytes wore this exact same outfit in the Drag Race season 11 finale for her lipsynch against Silky. If you don’t know what to do with that information, neither do I.
The makers of this iteration of “Nneka the Pretty Serpent” tried to solve the problem of the original movie (not having an actual plot) by giving a reason for Nneka’s murder spree. But due to the unintentionally hilarious execution and unnecessarily complex backstory, it doesn’t quite work and is confusing as hell.
The movie starts with little Nneka celebrating her birthday. While her father is fetching the cake, her mother tells her a story:
This is eventually revealed to be part of the movie’s backstory, which is fine. However, the story doesn’t have enough details and the writers never bother to explain more as the movie goes on. So this is where the confusion starts
Before Nnneka can even blow out her candles, a group of people that aren’t shown onscreen attack their home. Nneka’s parents seemingly know who the attackers are and help her escape through a back door. But she doesn’t run away immediately and stays back to watch the attackers murder her parents with a sword. As all this is happening, I can’t help but notice how similar this is to the 200 versions of Bruce & Martha Wayne’s death scene that DC has shown us over the years. I’m also super distracted by the child actor’s inability to properly look sad.
We then cut to a scene of a cult performing a ritual. After chanting some incantato, they set a coffin on fire and push it into the ocean. The movie’s title card pops up and we get a time jump. Nneka (Idia Aisien) is all grown up and fine as hell. She’s also broke as shit, living in a tiny apartment where her landlord hounds her everyday because she’s owing rent…
…and works as a waitress at a restaurant with a boss who hates her. In the boss’ defense, it’s established that Nneka is a pretty terrible employee so his hatred is justified. The only good thing Nneka has going for her is her friendship with her coworker named Ada (Bimbo Ademoye) and her short flirt sessions with one of the restaurant’s recurring patrons named Tony (Kenneth Okolie).
Nneka is plagued with visions and bad dreams about her parents getting killed in front of her. She has one of these visions in the restaurant one day and mistakenly throws a bowl of water at a patron, causing her boss to fire her. On her way home (which involves walking through a beach for some reason), she hears the ocean calling out to her, so she dives in and immediately gets possessed by a snake.
In a scene taken out of the movie, “The Terminator,” she returns to the shore butt-ass naked and walks up to a couple having a picnic, killing them both so she can take their clothes.
We never find out what happened to the clothes she was wearing when she jumped in.
When Nneka gets home, Queen Mother (played by the original Nneka the Pretty Serpent, Ndidi Obi) appears in a mirror and starts talking about how she used to be the queen of a kingdom until she was betrayed, had her powers stolen, killed, and cursed in death. Nneka is understandably freaked out and is like:
Queen Mother explains that she’s here to help Nneka get revenge against the people who killed her parents. She reveals that Nneka’s mother was a member of Queen Mother’s kingdom and that the people who killed her (the cult that we see pushing a burning coffin into the ocean in the opening scene) also killed Nneka’s parents. Nneka is about that revenge life so she agrees, working with Queen Mother to hunt down the members of the cult. But first, Nneka and Queen Mother link up in a spiritual realm that looks suspiciously like the ancestral plane from Black Panther.
The six members of the cult are now a business collective known as The Island Project. The first person Nneka goes after is man named Udoka (played by Larry Gaaga, whose music is littered all over the movie as soundtracks). She seduces him at a bar with the promise of car sex. When they get to the car, she grows fangs like a serpent (get it? lol) and kills him.
After killing Udoka, Nneka flees the scene with a duffle bag of full of dollars he had in his car. She uses it to level up, buying the restaurant she used to work out (firing her old boss) and starts a real estate business.
Obvious fake money is obvious.
The next member of the Island Project Nneka goes after is a woman named Fatima (Shaffy Bello). Nneka corners Fatima in a public bathroom and bashes her head in with the wall.
Nneka finds time inbetween her murderous rampage to chase man. She and Tony start getting closer until she finds wedding pictures starring him and another woman. She bails on him in the middle of their date and gets attacked by her former boss, who is furious that she bought the restaurant and fired him. Already pissed from the Tony thing, she promptly snaps his neck and keeps it moving.
Up next on the list is a man named Tega (Keppy Ekpenyong). Instead of using one of her powers, Nneka breaks into his house instead like a discount Black Widow and tries to kill him with her bare hands. Unknown to her, Tega has figured out the pattern of deaths and has spiritually fortified himself for what’s coming. What comes next is a poorly-lit fight scene where Tega beats the shit out of Nneka, throwing something in her face that gives her spiritual apollo.
Nneka runs away and goes after someone else on the list. A woman named Chinonye (Chioma Chukwuka). Nneka tracks her down to a night club and throws her from VIP down to regular.
Nneka goes after the fourth member of the Island Collective, a man named Alhaji Abdullahi (Sani Mu’azu). She poses as a flight attendant on his private jet and poisons his champagne.
She makes a second attempt on Tega’s life by disguising herself as a janitor at his office. When she makes sure he’s alone, she knocks him down and rips out his intestines.
A detective (seriously played by Bovi) who’s been trying to track down the killer figures out that it’s Nneka and goes to her house by himself to confront her. She beats the living daylight out of him and kills him too. I don’t know why but this is the funniest fight scene I’ve ever seen.
Looks like Nneka went to The Vampire Diaries School of Killing People because what is with all this neck-snapping?
The last living member of the Island Collective is named Anthony (Zack Orji), a pastor Nneka later finds out is Tony’s father. He quit the cult years ago to join the church. She’s initially reluctant to kill him because of her love for Tony but eventually decides to do it. Pastor Anthony paralyses Nneka with church incense and casts the spirit of Queen Mother out of her.
Pastor Anthony reveals that Queen Mother has been deceiving Nneka this entire time, explaining that it was actually her that killed Nneka’s parents because she knew the next Queen Mother (Nneka) would come from their lineage, and she wasn’t ready to relinquish power. The members of the Island Project were really members of the kingdom but had nothing to do with Nneka’s parents’ deaths. All they did was kill Queen Mother so they could use her powers for themselves. Pastor Anthony then stabs himself in the stomach for no reason and dies.
A lot happens from here. Queen Mother slaps Nneka across the face multiple times when Nneka tries to confront her. She’s also fucking furious that Nneka didn’t kill Pastor Anthony herself because it means the power she wants back is still in his bloodline (i.e Tony). Queen Mother insists that Nneka kill Tony and Nneka says no. So to prove that she’s not fucking around, Queen Mother burns down Nneka’s restaurant with her best friend inside, threatening to kill everyone Nneka loves if she doesn’t do the needful. Nneka knocks Tony out and takes him to a beach to kill him but changes her mind after a struggle for control with Queen Mother, convincing him to stab her with a crucifix instead. She seemingly dies and while she’s in limbo (?), she sees her mother, who says:
Nneka is distraught that she’s killed so many people and will never get the chance to make things right because she’s now dead. The movie pulls a Harry Potter and explains that the crucifix killed only Queen Mother and that Nneka gets to keep living. Nneka wakes up to find Tony stressed out because he has no idea what the fuck is happening. She explains nothing to him and they go on to live happily ever after.
Ramsey Nouah shows up at the end as his character from “Living in Bondage 2,” Richard Williams, and is like:
2020’s “Nneka the Pretty Serpent” suffers from not having a well-fleshed backstory, leaving the viewers with not enough information to keep up with the chaotic plot. It’s a shame, really. Because under all that chaos is a movie that could’ve been really good.
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nneka the pretty serpent 2020