Tuesday 14 September 2010

PIRANHA 3D review

Yeah, it's been out for ages but I've just seen it. In glorious, gratuitous 3D no less.
Watch the trailer and read my review, after the jump...

After an underground cave opens up, hundreds of flesh hungry fish are released into the sleepy waters of Lake Victoria. Unfortunately for some, it's also spring break, and thousands of American youths are descending on the town, eager to show some skin and take a swim. Also on hand is pornographer Derrick Jones (Jerry O'Connell), capturing all the drunken girls he can on his leering camera.

Christopher Lloyd is around to provide us with all the necessary backstory for these snappy little creatures, delivering his lines with all the gusto of Doc Brown. Richard Dreyfuss also has a sweet little cameo that winks heavily towards his role in Jaws. It's a cheeky little reference that completely sets the tone for the rest of the film.

Elisabeth Shue appears as the town sheriff/worried mother, and is perfectly fine, but the mystery of where the piranha have come from doesn't really interest me when I know there's some gore a-coming. Her son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) can't carry his slightly weak story on his own, but there's a hilariously obnoxious appearance by Jerry O'Connell and a surprisingly adequate turn by Kelly Brook to keep the film going whilst we wait for the biting to begin.

If there's one word you could use to describe this film it's 'gratuitous'. There's plenty of gore and nudity, not to mention the bloodlust satisfaction in seeing shirtless knobheads get bit to pieces. Once the hordes of sweaty teenagers are introduced, you just can't wait to see every last one of them get killed. They're all vile, idiotic creatures who it's better to not have in the gene pool anymore. It's not safe to go in the water, but only because you're liable to catch something from them.

Tits and ass bounce around in abundance to the point where surprisingly, they lose some of their mystique and appeal. If you'd have told me a few years ago that a scene with Kelly Brook and a pornstar doing naked ballet underwater would become a bit tedious, well I'd have been amazed. Not that the whole experience wasn't appealing, but I just wanted them to get to the violence already.

This film really is a 15 year old boy's dream, and a wet one at that. It's also precisely the sort of film that should be made in 3D. No matter what James Cameron says, the process really is nothing more than a gimmick, and goes hand in hand with the shlocky story of Piranha 3D. I appreciate the art of subtlety, but that's not exactly what Piranha 3D preaches. Having said that, this film doesn't have enough of its gimmick on show. Perhaps if it had been filmed in 3D rather than retro-fitted it would have been more impressive, visually.

Not that director Alexandre Aja doesn't deliver some excellent gore. Once the piranha hit the beach, the action and gore hits a bloody pace that it maintains until the credits roll. Teens run screaming and the water turns red, and some poor girl gets her entire face ripped off by a propeller blade. It's certainly not for the squeamish. There's also some hilarious moments too, as characters try to deliver meaningful dialogue with their legs chewed down to matchsticks.

Not quite what I was hoping for after the fantastic word of mouth, but enjoyable nonetheless. Piranha 3D is a cheesy horror that provides ridiculousness and gore in equal measures. I'd welcome the hinted at sequel if they can get the 3D right.


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