[Review] – Piranha 3DD

13 Jun

Title: Piranha 3DD
Year: 2012
Director: John Gulager
Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan and Joel Soisson, based on the characters by Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames
MPAA Rating: R, sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use
Runtime: 83 min
IMDb Rating: 4.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Metacritic: 24

I saw Alexandre Aja‘s Piranha 3D back in September of 2010 and gave it a B- because I thought that even if it wasn’t a good film, it did exactly what was expected of it in serving up some campy fun full of gore and nudity. It was the kind of film that, though certainly not for everyone, would be exactly what people who were interested in its premise would be expecting. So I went into Piranha 3DD, the sequel to that horror-comedy, this time directed by John Gulager, thinking that maybe it would be more of the same. This one, however, is just plain bad, a movie I can’t recommend on any level whatsoever and that’s certainly one of the worst ones I’ve seen so far in 2012.

The biggest difference between this one and its predecessor is the fact that the first one had a mixture of all its ingredients that made it very clear that it was a film that was totally self-aware about the the stuff it was parodying and satirizing, this one, even though it has a couple of celebrities that are 100% game in their cameos, just never once strikes that same sort of balance in its tone to make it sheer campy fun. This new director is just the personification of a lazy-ass filmmaker with no sort of ambition whatsoever, just thinking that by serving up boobs and blood his crowd will be satisfied, and that dumb jokes will make it feel like a satire.

While the first film took place in a lake, this new one takes place in The Big Wet Water Park, a place that’s been taken over by a douchebag that could only really be played by David Koechner and made into an adult water park, with strippers for lifeguards, an underwater camera and a policy that states that girls with big boobs get to swim for free. And then you have Dannielle Panabaker as Maddy, a marine biologist student who’s the good girl who actually owns half the water park and wants it to be a place for good old fashioned family fun, and hates what her stepfather has done to it. Not that the story or any of the details matter one bit, it’s all about naked people and piranhas biting off their naked bits. All of the background stuff just feels like the director ticking off points in a checklist to get to the parts that will (the studio would hope) sell the movie.

Just so that you get an idea of what stuff this film does concern about: two teenage couples go to a lake, one of the couples decide to go skinny-dipping where a piranha gets inside the girls’ vagina but does nothing, and the other couple starts having sex in the car until the handbrake gets pushed by one of them and the van falls into the lake and they’re both killed, eaten by our aquatic friends. A few scenes later, the first couple starts having sex and the piranha inside the vagina decides to finally come out and play and bite the guys’ penis, and the dude eventually has to get out a knife and chop off his member. What’s worse is that I’m not kidding here, this is stuff that happens in Piranha 3DD, and it’s not particularly shocking, nor funny, it’s just kind of disgusting and boring.

You can start arguing with me that people who want to see this film in the first place will want to see stuff like that, and that the first film also served up similar events. But that’s not really the case. On the one hand, this one’s just horribly paced, and pretty much nothing B-movie-shocking happens until a good half-hour into the film, and on the other hand, the gore in this one is actually far more timid than it was in the first go-round, the director instead settling for stupid shots of stupid girls being stupid and stupidly naked.

The film’s also a bit too concerned with getting celebrity cameos. You have Christopher Lloyd as the piranha expert, and Gary Busey as one of two guys who find a dead cow in a lake and cut it open only to have piranhas come out of its stomach and eat them, you have David Hasselhoff playing himself as a guest lifeguard for the park’s opening, and Ving Rhames, one of the hero’s of the first film, in the best stupid cameo in this movie. I have no idea what sort of crowd that stuff will appeal to, but if you think this is going to be like the first one, you’re in for a big disappointment, this one doesn’t even try to be fun or funny, it’s just a cheap film with nothing shocking nor funny about it.

As if it weren’t clear enough, I strongly advice against seeing Piranha 3DD. It’s a film that never once really finds itself, that feels just utterly lazy and super content with aiming for the lowest laugh and that won’t even get that from any smart audience member. Plus, my biggest problem with this one, is that the first one was better also because it foccused on grown-ups, who were played by far better actors and had far better storylines. The teenagers these film focusses upon are played by kids who aren’t really all that great and who provide no sense of forward narrative momentum whatsoever.

Grade: D


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