Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Let’s get this out of the way, a review of the artistic merits of Piranha 3D would be grossly missing the point.
If you have an inherent disposition towards this kind of thing, you’ll love it and if you don’t, you’ll be mortified to the point of nausea. Yet after that take it or leave it forward, I do have to say, if you have smidgen of fun in your body, I don’t see how you cannot adore Piranha 3D to pieces.
Piranha 3D is a remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 cult classic that blitzes its predecessor on the exploitation charts with sadomasochistic glee. Helmed by one of my favourite French horror auteurs, Alexandre Aja, Piranha 3D delivers on all its camp promises and more – ferocious monster fish, oversexed bikini babes and said monster fish eating said bikini babes.
Welcome to Lake Victoria, a picturesque small town about to be overrun by boozed-up, barely-clad teenagers on spring break and a school of prehistoric underwater predators. Local sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) sure has her hands full preventing the hedonistic collegiate population from being eaten alive while keeping her eldest son Jake (Steven R. McQueen, grandson of Steve McQueen) and two younger kids safe.
There isn’t any contrived sentimental baggage here, a scenario so fondly used in movies of this ilk to create dramatic tension. Julie is just competent single mom and sheriff doing her best to fight an army of mutant fish. Really, when you’re fighting mutant fish, let’s not pretend to keep things grounded and let’s just get on with the excessive gore.
Like all teen boys, Jake makes his mom’s job that much harder when he finds himself at sea with his two siblings while under the employ of porn director Derrick Jones (Jerry O'Connell playing a fictionalised version of Joe Francis, the sleazy head of Girls Gone Wild) and his two busty, oft-nude models. That isn’t a dig on these two fine young ladies (who perform a spectacular naked underwater ballet...IN 3D), in fact all the fine young ladies in this movie are oft-nude.
The greatest irony when these hormonally-charged kids are being viscerally torn apart is that these piranhas see them just as a guy like Derrick Jones might see them – nothing but flesh to be consumed. Or maybe I’m just reading too much subtext into a borderline soft-porn flick about ravenous monster fish.
To its credit Piranha 3D is certainly balls-out but not an all-out parody and the instances of tension in its horror sequences are extremely effective. Nevertheless, amidst the gruesome gasps and orgasmic mayhem, there are lots of sadistic chuckles to be had too.
This is a celebration of camp after all and everyone’s tongue is firmly in cheek, when their faces aren’t pulled apart by motorboat propellers or being bitten off in little chunks that is. Piranha 3D isn’t a movie, it’s an experience.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.