Some of you would have formed a certain opinion of Hisss after seeing the tagline “She's sexy... venomous... and she'll swallow you whole...”. Yea well, it is all that, but it is a good deal more. The spirit of the movie is captured in an early scene when the perpetually dazed cop played by Irfan Khan wonders in one of his several mumbled monologues to himself if everyone around him is crazy. You see, unlike many other movies which show you the descent of a character into madness by holding it against the sobriety of his own earlier self or of other players, Hisss offers no such bedrock of normality against which you, the audience, can assuredly rest upon while judging the motivations of its characters; Here insanity is the common thread that binds them all.
In a performance that in its lightest moments reflects Jack Nicholson's gone-round-the-bend turn in The Shining, Jeff Doucette plays the white man dying of cancer that wants to attain immortality by getting hold of the mythical snake gem from India. Brushing aside conventional wisdom which would suggest that he appease the snakes, he decides to get his way by separating two lover snakes while they're in the act of making snake babies, and then blackmailing the female snake into providing him with said gem. To do this he takes away the male snake to a hidden jungle locale and keeps it in a box where he gives it periodic electric shocks. Pragmatism at work here.
Separated from her lover, the female snake grows boobs and butt and morphs into Mallika Sherawat. Since white man neglected to leave any forwarding address, she must now track him down to get her lover back. Depending on the wildly varying whims of the script she is presented either as superlatively naïve or ridiculously omniscient. Her pursuit of her lover leads to a trail of immensely bloody deaths and hugely entertaining cheap CG imagery. If I may pick nits I'd say that the first sequence of over-the-top snake ownage is never topped later on. But the camp level is maintained and every other character in the film chips in generously to its overall insanity quotient. I won't say too much more for fear of spoiling it for you, but it is a rewarding film for people who appreciate that sort of thing. With (T)Hisss, David Lynch's daughter has given us Eraserhead for the masses.