Remember how the now-classic monster film “Jaws” had inspired many films that portray of sea beasts on a rampage? Movies like “Orca”, “Alligator” and even the 1978 Roger Corman classic “Piranha” were a dime-a-dozen in multiplexes. Corman’s classic film was a great time; it was filled with comedic overtones with a successful low-budget execution that inspired the viewers’ imagination. Directed by Joe Dante, the 1978 classic was just so much fun, that now in 2010, Alexandre Aja is now re-issuing the cult classic with loads of gore, bucket loads of blood and tons of beautiful bodies (naked and not). It is the next generation of undersea “munchers”, as Aja brings a supposed distraction in the movies into a fun bloodbath.
Lake Victoria and it is Spring Break. You know that this means a huge incursion of college students ready for a good time and this translates to drunkenness, nudity and sex as they party to death. Trying to keep order amid all the drunkenness and parties is Sheriff Julie Forester (still a hottie Elizabeth Shue) who may have found more trouble than Spring Break is worth when an underwater earthquake opens a huge fissure in the bottom of the lake; this opening allows thousands of supposed extinct piranhas to ravage the partying vacationers. Panic and fear ensues, as Sheriff Forester tries to save as much people as she can; helping along is her deputy (Ving Rhames) and a fish expert (Adam Scott). Meanwhile her son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen) and her other two kids are stuck at sea with “Wild Wild Girls” video mogul Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell) and his pack of sexy babes (Kelly Brook and adult film star Riley Steele)…what is a mother to do?
There is nothing intricate nor is there anything inventive with the plot in 2010’s “Piranha”; it is as straight-forward as can be. Hungry monster fish gets awakened by a tremor during a time when the lake is crowded with hot bodies and what results is a rampaging eating buffet. When you are watching a film like “Piranha” one needs to abandon logic, suspend his disbelief and just allow oneself to be swept up for the ride. Aja overloads the screen with a lot of wild gore and bloody effects to keep the film moving with its bites and laughs. It captures the spirit of the original film and Aja seemed to have redeemed himself after the less than impressive remake “Mirrors”.
The direction plays the film in a very simple manner, it isn’t pretentious as going into the first few scenes, you’d know exactly what to expect. The film has very light characterization, little environmental commentary and even a shot at parental concerns; there is some hot lesbian underwater action and lots of nudity (even full frontal nudity) to go along with the gore effects. Aja goes into overdrive serving up the a lot of gore and blood as he ups the body count. The CGI piranhas are fitting to deliver the carnage, no, they don’t look particularly that realistic as was intended; the direction delivers as much carnage to expose a lot of its low-budget horror sensibilities. The direction maintains a solid pace throughout, you know there will be a third act showdown set up in the film and Aja keeps up the blood splatter and violent blood thrashes to build up to its climax. The CGI effects in the film aren’t bad but it sure wasn’t anything impressive. What I did enjoy was Aja’s return to splatter horror sensibilities as he remembers to incorporate gorgeously cheesy prosthetics to display the mayhem brought about by the ‘munchers’.
The film is also hilarious but it never became totally over-the-top in the way of humor. It has a healthy sense of humor as it even plays homage to the classic film “Jaws” (complete with an opening cameo of Richard Dreyfuss) and Shue plays a homage to Scheider’s Chief Brody complete with a subtle theme of woman empowerment. O’Connell feels at home with his role as the frenzied skin flick producer as he stumbles around in his sorry state. Aja knows what he is going for here; the film is complete with breasts shots and bottoms to titillate the viewer; there are even some crazy CGI penis shots. The dialogue has some intended cheesy moments as well; as someone halfway eaten is more worried about losing his penis than actually dying, and yes, the direction is just so comfortable with what it is serving up in the screen.
“Piranha” is just genial fun and to be honest it is a film for a very acquired taste. I guess this is why the Weinsteins tried to hide the film from advance critics, they feared that the film may push the boundaries of immorality that the stuck-up crowd may just boo the heck out of it. Well, if the “boos” from the stuck up viewers are indicative of the film’s charm to low-budget horror fans, then it succeeds in what it set out to do. “Piranha” is just a fun time; it is playful, funny, sickening, disgusting and the bloody mess displayed is such a joy to behold. (I almost feel bad that I didn't see this on 3D)
** out of **** Alexandre Aja's "Piranha 3D" is an obnoxious horror film that wants to be as harmless as possible by offending many and entertaining just about anyone else. It promises a boobs-n'-blood thrill-ride, and it delivers one; for the most part. While there are certainly some entertaining scenes to "Piranha 3D", and in many ways it's better than the film its remaking, it's not as good as it might want to be. There's not much wrong with "Piranha 3D", but then again … more
PIRANHA Ah remakes, they are some tricky little things. It seems like so many come out that you hate them all. You swear them all off and then a good one actually makes its way out. This kiddies is one such remake, one that is actually good. Of course with Alexandre Aja behind the boards you knew this was going to entertaining. I mean how could it not be as he really knows how to make these types of flicks. I knew this was going to be a fun ride. … more
Back when James Cameron's "Avatar" was released, there was a lot of talk about the future of 3-D movies - about how much better the process had become with high definition cameras, about how they didn't simply throw things at the screen but actually immersed you in another world. In March of 2009, Josh Quittner of "Time" published an article about the 3-D revolution, particularly in relation to "Avatar," which had yet to be released. After seeing some finished footage, he concluded that the work … more
This is one of those meant to be fun flicks that were never meant to be taken seriously. If you went into this expecting a real dramatic scary flick then I know you were surprised. Of course any film that is in theaters as a 3-D flick can not be taken seriously in my opinion. Also how could a remake from a classic be anything but awesome fun. From the kills to the T&A this is just a popcorn flick.
Debating the merits of Piranha 3D, director Alexandre (Mirrors) Aja's testosterone-driven valentine to Joe Dante's 1978 original and the excesses of '80s genre films in general, is a fool's errand; it is, after all, a movie about prehistoric fish preying on hormonal partygoers in various states of undress--and in 3D, mind you--so any review must answer the question--does it deliver what its key audience (young men, ages 14 to 24) require? On that front, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Special effects creators Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger present a veritable buffet of gruesome ways for the thinly drawn characters to die, from a piranha burrowing through a swimmer's head to the horrible encounter between a boat propeller and a longhaired victim. The sheer amount of nudity on display rivals a week's worth of Cinemax late-night screenings, rendered all the more excessive in 3D; as for the gimmick itself, it lends some unsettling depth to the underwater attacks. In short, if one attends Piranha 3D for grindhouse-style yucks, it's bound to be a rollicking good time. All others may find its relentless, Red Bull drive wearying; the whole affair is clearly meant to be a goof, just as Dante's original (produced by Roger Corman and penned by John Sayles) was, but where Dante's target was monster movie camp of the '50s and '60s (as well as Jaws), Aja and writers Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg take aim at either ...