As soon as I saw the previews for Piranha 3D I said that it would be the My Bloody Valentine 3D of the summer, a horror movie that is cheesy fun, gory but fairly entertaining. However, to my dismay it wasn’t. I was not entertained and I felt bored at times while I watched the carnage take place. The story is about a small town called Lake Victoria that is busy handling all the spring break tourism and ignorant college teens. Little do they know, an underwater earthquake occurred that released thousands of prehistoric piranha into the lake. Now, it’s up the sheriff (played by Elizabeth Shue) to try to get a grip of the town and help her son who is stranded on a sinking boat. It sounds like it could be fun, and I wanted to enjoy it but I ended up feeling cold-blooded afterwards.
I’ll probably keep referring to My Bloody Valentine because I saw Piranha 3D as a fun summer movie but had some substance to it. In MBV, the deaths were corny and tacky because it was in 3D and the whole severed heart in a box of chocolates was way over the top but still enjoyable. They gave the movie depth by twisted the original plot around and I was hoping for the same with Piranha 3D. The level of campiness in this film was too much and it made me bored and it was off-putting. Some of the lines delivered in the movie are so tacky that it was horrendous and I’m all for tacky lines but when you over do it, it becomes stupid and not entertaining. I think there is only so much camp that should be allowed in the movie to make it fun and this film overdid it. It would have been different it was unintentional but I feel that they wanted to do it this way… and it failed.
One of the biggest problems that I had with it was the characters and I know it’s supposed to be a campy movie and you’re not supposed to care about the characters but take MBV again; the characters are likeable and I sort of felt for them. They are tragic. In Piranha 3D, Deputy Fallon (played by Ving Rhames) is a policeman who is getting too old for his job so right there could have been something to play around with. Instead, he goes out in the snap of a finger and not in a blaze of glory. It was anticlimactic for a character that could have had a lot of potential. I wanted to see more of Mr. Goodman (ham-handedly but brilliantly played by Christopher Lloyd) who was only in two scenes but could have had more potential. I wanted to see more.
That’s another thing that was strange about this film. It lists an ‘all-star’ cast but if you think about it, most of the actors we care about are only in the movie as quick cameos. Richard Dreyfuss is only in the movie for 5 minutes but I found it funny that he was in it to begin with since the original Piranha was sort of a knock-off to Jaws. Christopher Lloyd was in the movie for two scenes that equal to about 6 or 7 minutes. As I said with Ving Rhames, he was in a couple scenes but didn’t play the badass I wanted to see.
The 3D was awful. Again, going back to MBV, I expect them to use 3D to their pleasing and they did and I had a jaw thrown at me, and a pickaxe right in my face. I wanted to see some clever 3D usage but instead, I got stupid shit like having a hand reach out in front of me, or sign waving in the wind. The only thing that was noteworthy was having a severed dick float right in my face followed by a piranha gobbling it up. It was just stupid. On top of that, the 3D rendition was dreadful. Every time something was in a depth of field my eyes would straddle trying to look at the object/character that is in front but also trying to look at the background. This caused strain on my eyes and I had to take my glasses off several times to get them to adjust right. Bottom line, this didn’t need to be in 3D.
The other major problem that I had with this movie was that 70% of it was pretty much a Girls Gone Wild video in 3D. Now, I’m not saying that seeing T&A in 3D is bad but when it’s overused I feel as though I’m not watching a horror movie but rather a stupid softcore porno. It’s too much of a jump in terms of genre. I get that that’s what spring break is all about but goddamn, I came here to see piranha eat up tourists and not an overwhelming flood of boobs and asses. Again, with MBV, I didn’t remember any nudity but if they did have it… it was minimal because the movie could carry on without it. I felt as though they only had all this nudity was to keep the viewer interested, which is really bad.
Hands down, the best only good part of the movie was the scenes that showed the piranha viciously attack all the tourists during the wet t-shirt contest. It was so satisfying to see all those ignorant teens get maimed and mauled by piranha, run over by boats, electrocuted, sliced in half by cable, diced up by boat propellers and decapitated by speedboats. Some of the scenes actually too me back like when this kid was deliberately running people over with his boat to try to get away from the mayhem. Or when this girl gets her hair caught in the propeller and it rips her entire scalp and face off. Honestly, this movie had some great special effects and gore. The kills get an A+ in my grade book but too bad for the rest of the film.
Again, I expected it to be bad but amusing. I wanted it to be corny but fun. I wanted it to be gimmicky but with some sort of substance. I liked the CGI piranha and the CGI blood because that adds to its corniness. However, I think it’s main problem stems from that either it was rushed out too quickly or there was too much studio control. It’s a shame because I love Aja’s work. His Hills Have Eyes remake was amazing and very well photographed. Here, it was dry and stale and his cinematography was lacking. There is still so much to talk about but I need to cut this review off. If you must see it in theaters, go ahead. I would recommend that you should wait until it ends up on DVD and see in then. All in all, it makes me want to relive the experience I had when I saw My Bloody Valentine in 3D.