By Clint Morris
“It’s time to get wet again”, David Koechner’s Chet, the sleazy owner of one of those highly-commercialised water parks, tells viewers in an advertisement within the film plugging the relaunch of his business.
If you didn’t catch “Piranha 3D”, director Alexandre Aje’s bloody, booby reboot of the Joe Dante horror classic about stupid kids being gobbled by killer fish, those words are all you need know about the 2010 film and it’s new sequel.
“Piranha 3DD”, like its equally smutty predecessor, is chlorinated soft-porn for the oversexed male, female and, in this case, German.
The goal of the films are obviously to entertain and shock, but also, the filmmakers want you wet by the end of that hour-and-a-half triathlon in tits and terror.
If, at any time during the film, you’re both turned off and turned on – the film is a success.
In Aja’s very graphic and over-the-top 2010 film, a group of teenagers occupying the waters at Lake Victoria find themselves playing meal to a mass of carnivorous fish. It was up to a plucky sheriff and scientist, played by Elisabeth Shue and Adam Scott respectively, to save the big-breasted and brainless from extravagant death scenarios. Most of them, much to the glee of the underage audience, the duo would fail.
Before one can suggest “let’s take all of all our clothes and go swimming” (which, not surprisingly are actual words uttered within the first ten minutes of the film), the killer fish who invaded Lake Victoria a couple of years prior have swam back into the water occupied by promiscuous, usually-naked teenagers. This time, thighs are being nibbled underneath the splashings of the aforesaid water park (one, of course, staffed by strippers and complete with its own nude pool) on its big grand re-opening. In attendance are a horde of naked women, occupying the new ‘adult pool’, ignorant parents, moronic kids and celebrity guest, David Hasselhoff.
Just as in “Piranha 3D”, it all comes down to one man and one woman to save the blue waters from turning a deep red – in this case, the owner’s intelligent and assertive step-daughter (Danielle Panabaker, “Friday the 13th”) and shy staffer -and potential love interest – Barry (Matt Bush, “Adventureland”).
Though Maddy and Barry act quick to stop a full-blown massacre – and are diligently supported by Hasselhoff, who decides it’s time to live up to his alter-ego from “Baywatch” and start saving some lives, as well as Ving Rhames’ sheriff character who lost his legs to the fish in the first film and now walks on shot-gun stumps – the fish get the upper-hand.
“Piranha 3DD”, like its predecessor, is essentially a slightly more posh and better-cast (Nobody quite as famous in this one as there was in “Piranha 3D” – remember Richard Dreyfuss’s terrific cameo? – but Christopher Lloyd is terrific as the eccentric Piranha-studying scientist, who appears in both films, and there’s an amusing cameo by Gary Busey that opens the sequel) version of one of those ridiculous horror movies forced upon gullible video rental library members in the ’80s. From more well-known horror films like “Friday the 13th” and “Brain Damage” to the lesser known “Lifeforce”, “Basket Case” and “Howling II”, all of the films were primarily the same – oversexed kids without any morals or, better still, an ability to keep it in their pants, go off somewhere to have sex or skinny-dip…. or do something else naughty, only to be killed – in the most ridiculous of ways…by whatever monster the movie featured, be it Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or a werewolf who doggies the crap out of Sybil Danning.
Yes, director John Gulager’s “Piranha 3DD”, and its predecessor, looks like a much more superior picture, what with its starry cameos and splashy effects sequences, but it’s strategy and value is pretty much on par with that cheap video nasty that tagged along to slumber parties back in the day.
That such a bad thing, though? No, always going to be an audience for these types of flicks.
It goes without saying, what with sex and alcohol still as popular as ever (or so they tell me), and for that matter, the joy of seeing someone slaughtered in the most ridiculous matter possible still in fashion, there’s still an audience out there for movies like “Piranha 3DD”. Look outside the entrance of any video game arcade, that’s your demo right there.
Cinematographer Alexandre Lehmann deserves a mention, it’s a top-rate capture for someone who hasn’t worked with 3D before, plus the quick, attention-grabbing editing by Devin C. Lussier and Martin Bernfeld helps the film never overstay it’s welcome.
Those who like more meat and potatoes with their flick can bypass this one, but anyone with a taste for fish and flesh are no doubt already in line.