Piranha 3-D (2010)

Piranha 3-D (2010)

This Summer 3D Shows Its Teeth

An underground earthquake sets free scores of man-eating prehistoric piranha fish which swim down river towards a small town on the shore of Lake Victoria, a popular spring break destination for college students. With hundreds of booze-fuelled and horny teenagers in the water, can the piranha be stopped in time?


Do you want a thought-provoking film which challenges the meaning of life, gives rise to question our existence and will make you change the way you live your life? If you do then clear off now. If you want boobs, blood, boobs, low brow humour, boobs, more blood, killer fish and then more boobs, you’ve come to the right place. Piranha 3-D is a silly, moronic and extremely juvenile horror flick which wears it’s exploitation heart on it’s sleeve…..and I loved every single minute of it. The film is pitched squarely towards fan boys – actually males of any demographic – with its focus on hot young females shedding their clothes at every opportunity. Sort of like a horror film crossed with one of those MTV shows in which they pitch a DJ and stage on a beach somewhere and just let chicks dance for an hour. Piranha 3-D is gloriously self-aware and self-indulgent. I can’t remember the last time I was this entertained in the cinema.

Alexandre Aja has helmed some pretty serious and brutal films during his directorial time including the remake of The Hills Have Eyes so it’s nice to see him ‘relax’ and go for something more light-hearted and trashy. The first two Piranha films back in the 70s were helmed by Joe Dante and James Cameron no less, two men who’ve got on to much bigger and better things (more so Cameron). So Aja is in good company. He knows what modern horror fans want to see and delivers. Let’s face it – 3-D is a gimmick, pure and simple. It’s not meant to be the next coming of cinema. It’s meant to add enjoyment to your viewing experience. Aja knows that and puts the 3-D to uses that James Cameron would never have considered for Avatar. The 3-D is used effectively throughout the film with all manner of things popping, erupting, exploding and jiggling on the screen. Memorable moments include a piranha emerging from someone’s mouth, Ving Rhames’ defiant stand with a detached outboard motor and, well, I’d never thought I’d say this but the 3-D severed penis probably got the biggest laugh from the cinema audience I was sat in with. There’s plenty of 3-D blood and 3-D boobs too. I actually think there were more boobs here than fish.

The flick keeps its promise of blood and delivers it in buckets during the gruesome attack scene in which the piranhas finally get to chomp down on some drunken teenagers. Bodies with flesh-stripped limbs try to drag themselves out of the water. People are ripped in two. Some young woman even has the skin ripped clean off her face. The cameras get right up close and personal during the attack scenes, thrusting you straight into the heart of the action as if you’re almost stuck in the water waiting to be devoured. The deaths are played mainly for laughs (check out Eli Roth’s hilarious cameo), adding to the absurdity of the sheer amount of gore on display. But you can tell that Aja is used to gore flicks and loves the red stuff. He knows how to milk the blood for all of its worth and the camera lingers on each moment with childish glee. The tone of the film is never in question from the opening scene and a nice rich vein of humour flows through the film. Be it funny dialogue or simply the perverse situations that the characters find themselves in, a laugh or chuckle is never more than a few minutes away (tucked in nicely between boobs and blood!)

Its official – 3-D wasn’t designed so that James Cameron could bring to life the world of Pandora in Avatar. It wasn’t to show My Bloody Valentine’s copious amounts of gore in a new and disgusting way. It wasn’t so that kids could gawp at Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3. 3-D was designed purely for heterosexual males the world over to enjoy the absolutely glorious sight of Kelly Brook’s 32-E chest the way that God intended it to be enjoyed. And enjoy it we shall. Funnily enough she’s not that bad an actress here although her role is to cavort naked and look good and she does both with aplomb.

This is hardly a character-driven film though and the flimsy plot does little to make us care about most of the characters but the main cast do fine in their roles. Elizabeth Shue gets to act tough as the female sheriff, Jerry O’Connell is hilarious as the sleazy porn producer and steals every scene he’s in, Ving Rhames does his typical bad ass persona as the deputy and there’s a welcome cameo part for Christopher Lloyd, channelling some of his Doc Brown character from Back to the Future into his role as the marine biologist. Richard Dreyfuss spoofs his appearance in Jaws with the film’s most throwaway scene and will bring an instant grin to the face of any fan. Spot how many times Jaws can be referenced within the few minutes that Dreyfuss is on screen.


Piranha 3-D is unashamedly cinematic trash but it’s proud of it and hard to resist it’s simple charm. Those who adore high-brow subtitled French art house flicks will no doubt be disgusted at what’s on display here but this film isn’t aimed at you. Inception may be a lot of critic’s choice for best film of 2010 but Piranha 3-D can’t be too far behind for pure unadulterated entertainment.





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