Sometimes a title can tell you everything you need to know. Such is the case with Piranha 3D, a film in which prehistoric piranhas fly out of the screen at your face. If that sounds like a good time at the movies then run to the cinema immediately. Filled with recognisable faces, packed with excessive blood and gore and jokes as corny as they are hilarious, Piranha 3D is, if nothing else, the most honest and unpretentious piece of filmmaking of 2010.
The profound absurdity of it all comes early as Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws) gets eaten alive in the very opening scene. From there we follow Sheriff Julie Foster (Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas) and Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames, Mission Impossible) as they investigate the mysterious goings on at Lake Victoria, a hot spot for Spring Break revellers. The Sheriff’s son (Steven McQueen, The Vampire Diaries) gets hired by a deranged soft-core porn producer (Jerry O’Connell, Scream 2) to find the most ample teen girls to exploit. Also along for the ride are an eccentric fish expert (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future), a wet t-shirt organiser (Eli Roth, Inglourious Basterds) and a flexible stripper (reigning B-movie queen Kelly Brook). Does all of this not sound amazing?
Are you still not sure about it? How about the sex and violence, of which there is plenty? The boys will have fun watching 90 minutes of women in (and out of) bikinis flashing their boobs at the screen in 3D. The girls get half-naked guys flashing their biceps and abdominal muscles any chance they get. The gore would be sickening if it weren’t so uproariously funny- like when a woman gets devoured by ravenous piranhas that leave only her breast implants behind. How about the two fish that wrestle over a man’s appendage? There’s one hilarious moment in which a barge of terrified teenagers begins to plunge into the lake like the Titanic. There is so much blood and guts in the last 30 minutes of Piranha 3D that when Rhames’ Deputy uses a speedboat propeller to slaughter thousands of piranha in the span of a minute it feels positively restrained.
Unfortunately for a movie titled Piranha 3D the main detriment is the 3D. Long stretches appear devoid of 3D and when it is there, it’s hopelessly bad. It’s beyond the point to judge the terrible acting, although the actors do their best to fit in with the camp surroundings. Christopher Lloyd especially will have audiences in hysterics with his overblown performance. It’s nice to see director Alexandre Aja have a sense of humour after the depressing horror of Mirrors, Haute Tension and The Hills Have Eyes. Aja has found a wonderful mix of horror and laughs and even manages some scenes of tension that’ll have you gripping your armrest. Piranha 3D is a pure, unadulterated fun.
Piranha 3D is currently screening in Australia
Director: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Steven McQueen, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Jerry O’Connell, Richard Dreyfuss, Kelly Brook, Riley Steele, Adam Scott, Jessica Szohr, Eli Roth, Dina Meyer and Ricardo Chavira