THE DEMO CORNER
Elisabeth Shue: Sheriff Forester
Steven R. McQueen: Jake Forester
Jerry O’Connell: Derrick Jones
Kelly Brook: Danni
Ving Rhames: Deputy Fallon
Christopher Lloyd: Mr. Goodman
Adam Scott: Novak Radzinsky
Dina Meyer: Paula Montellano
Richard Dreyfus: Matthew Boyd
Release Date: August 20, 2010
Studio: Dimension Films
Rated: R 1 hr 29 mins
August 22, 2010
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Call it crass. Call it trash. Yes, Piranha 3D is just that. It also is probably the best horror film in several years if not a decade.
There are bouncing bosoms, itty-bitty bikinis, bare-naked underwater ballet, even a parasailing flop show. Oh, and heaps of gruesome gore. Piranha 3D fully exploits the medium by basically being an episode of Girls Gone Wild and MTV’s Spring Break coverage colliding with an aquatic Faces of Death all in your face. Director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Mirrors) lulls the audience with so much jiggle that when the carnage begins, it’s like snoozing up the main hill of the rollercoaster only to awaken plunging towards earth and forgetting how you got in the harness. Yes, this is horror done well.
So with the serious 3D, you have a plot that pretty much runs on fumes. An earthquake rips open a lake beneath a lake where prehistoric piranhas dwell. At the same time, the lake is being invaded by the annual spring break throngs in thongs. The local sheriff (Elisabeth Shue) learns of the piranha invasion and tries to stop the carnage before all those nubile bodies hit the water. There also is a subplot about growing up and getting stranded that creates some pretty good tension, but the whole flick is pretty predictable. Thankfully the actors do an excellent job selling their roles and playing perverted porn directors (Jerry O’Connell), pouty pole dancers (Kelly Brook), scientists (Christopher Lloyd, Adam Scott, Dina Meyer), cranky cops (Shue, Ving Rhames) and troubled youth (Steven R. McQueen) straight and believably.
And that is where a really stupid, exploitative film gets grand. Piranha 3D is perhaps below a B-film but winds up getting an A for achievement. Piranha 3D is unbelievably successful at delivering salacious and sickening thrills. The film is built on hints of violence and gore splashed between so much nudity that it is amazing this film earned an R-rating. So the audience soaks up the all the skin while anxiously awaiting the eye-candy to get gobbled up. As the story unfolds, it picks up pace with more skin and more gore and so on until the mother of all munching begins. It’s a spectacular ride.
Director Aja uses all the ripe real estate of the film to lure the audience in and then assault them. Sure, seasoned horror fans will see this coming a mile away, but it works. And it is this thrill ride aspect that has been missing from horror for quite some time. It’s also very streamlined and to the point. No twist endings, guessing games, traps, psychos in masks, or all the other nonsense that now bogs down the genre.
Those tired of endless remakes and sequels to Saw are in for something special. Its 89 minutes of full-on, outrageous fun. Oh, sorry cinephiles, there is nothing in common with the 1978 Roger Corman flick outside of the title and fish. It’s homage if anything. Is Piranha 3D the horror film of 2010? Yes. And probably the best 3D film ever due to all the DDs. You weren’t honestly expecting anything profound, right? Highly recommended.