Raucous horror comedies can be a mixed bag at the best of times even though the 80’s had more of it’s fair share of blood n’ boobs but in 2010, fans of lashing of gore and scantily clan women had their needs met by Alexandre Aja busty remake of Joe Dante’s Piranha. Enthusiastically pushing it’s three main draws of 3D, extreme bloodletting and an American Pie sensibility, the movie, while hardly a refined experience, was enough of an enjoyable beer and pizza sort of romp to snap up a respectable amount of bank – and so, with the inevitability of a skinny dipper being torn to pieces by thousands of teeth, we got a sequel.
Anyone wondering whether or not the series would continue to head in the direction of that of a horny teenager has their obvious question answered by the release of the title Piranha 3DD – a moniker that scientists are still working night and day to figure out whether it’s so dumb it’s genius or so genius it’s dumb; they are still looking…
A year has passed since the Lake Victoria piranha massacre left countless horny spring breakers messily gnawed to death and after a massive cull of the prehistoric killer fish, the resort is now a desolate wasteland and no life, flesh feasting piscine or otherwise, can exist in the once sparkling waters. Over at Cross Lake, college student Maddy has returned home to and is dismayed to find that the water park her late mother owned has been turned into a X-rated strip joint by her sleazy step father, Chet.
However, as shown in a pre-credits sequence that features a farting, exploding dead cow AND Gary Busey biting the head off a killer fish, some infant piranha have survived and are beginning to thrive again. This is especially bad news as Chet is getting the water for his water park from a pipeline drilled directly into the underground lake the killer fish has been using to move around and soon he’s inadvertently pumping the lethal little shitheads directly into the water system just in time for opening day.
As crowds of all ages splash in the pools and plunge down the flumes blissfully unaware of the danger lurking beneath the chlorinated surface, Maddy and her friends race to try and stop another fish based massacre. Will they succeed, will Chet get his just desserts and will the park’s celebrity guest David Hasselhoff get over the slump of his midlife crisis before disaster strikes?
When you fully embrace and expect the fact that no one anywhere was genuinely clamouring for this film to be made (except for maybe me – I LOVE big screen killer animal movies, no matter how dopey), Piranha 3DD weirdly becomes a better experience the less you fight against it.
Presented in a scaled down, noticably lower budget than the previous, single D-ed, episode, the movie flexes it’s smaller muscles focusing on more personal, deranged occurrences such as a virginal character having the unfortunate occurrence of having a baby Piranha swim into her cervix only for it to reappear during intercourse (choice dialogue: “Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!”), or the triumphant return of Ving Rhames’ now legless deputy who luckily has shotguns built into his prosthetic limbs. In fact the cast is suprisingly solid with The Flash’s Danielle Panabaker taking lead duties with David Koechner, Kristina Bowden and an also returning Christopher Lloyd providing unexpected backup.
Director John Gulager, the man responsible for the outrageous Feast trilogy, knows how to stage silly splatter, has a good eye for the ironic (blaring Amber Pacific’s pop punk “The Good Life” on the soundtrack as a child has his head ripped off is a prime example) and obviously has no issue shooting for the lowest common denominator as evidenced by the rare sight of a freshly severed head inadvertently motor-boating a pair of massive blood slicked breasts. But the movie, despite the fact that it’s adolescent mind is clearly obsessed with boobs and gore is also oddly sweet as by the end the boy gets the girl, the fish are vanquished (sorta) and David Hasselhoff makes an almighty tit of himself. The butt of many a joke suggesting he’s a washed up egotist (wait, did I say joke?), he’s a good sport and actually scores some legitimate belly laughs while riffing hard on his Baywatch persona: “I actually made a rescue!” he states, obviously elated while literally surrounded by half-eaten, screaming victims.
Yes, Piranha 3DD is a bit shit (despite the seemingly endless outtakes stretching the closing credits almost to eternity the film still only manages to clock in at a shockingly slight 83 minutes) but by then, it becomes fairly obvious that it’s shit by design and should be enjoyed as such.
Purveyors of good taste should probably give this a wide berth but more non-discerning viewers should order take out, get beers in and treat the whole thing like a dirty joke told by someone who’s eaten way too many hash brownies.
Worth a nibble.