The movie starts in the quiet town of Lake Victoria. The town is about to be over run by college students looking for drunken debauchery during spring break. Just prior to being overrun by scantily clad female co-eds and shirtless beer bonging boys, an earthquake strikes the middle of the lake, causing a rift to open. This rift unleashes the deadly prehistoric man…and women eaters all over those crazy kids partying away on the lake.
Now this is normally where I would go into my “I don’t like to give spoilers in my reviews” spiel, but honestly with Piranha 3D there really isn’t much to spoil. The most surprising thing about Piranha 3D was the cast. Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, and Jerry O’Connell all play a part. There’s even a nice little cameo by Eli Roth. I won’t say they star, because only Elizabeth Shue and Adam Scott have the, shall I say, meatiest parts. But still, that’s quite a list. Piranha 3D was directed by Alexander Aja who has previous experience with all things horror with having directed the remake of The Hills Have Eyes as well as High Tension and Mirrors previously. While I wouldn’t call his latest a horror film, it definitely has moments of shock and awe. However, I wouldn’t say that Piranha 3D is shockingly awful.
One of the positives that Piranha 3D has going for it, is that you don’t go into this movie thinking it’s going to be a revelation on quality film making. It’s purely a guilty pleasure. The cast plays all of their parts in an over zealous manner. Jerry O’Connell especially. If character personalities were able to be shown in 3D, his would have out shone all of the other 3D effects.
This film doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not and I find that incredibly refreshing. At no time did it take itself seriously. Could this have been something that was shown on the SyFy network on a Saturday afternoon? Absolutely. Albeit censored to death, but still, it’s that type of movie. Was it a hoot to watch? You bet. I laughed harder at this film than I have at most comedies as of late. It even provided a few parts that I actually jumped at. That’s rare for me. I can normally get through the scariest of movies without the slightest startle, but for some reason this one caught me off guard. The few candy pieces I had in my hand at the time, actually ended up on the floor.
The one part that I loved the most came at the very beginning with Richard Dreyfuss. It’s a throwback to Jaws and that alone was enough to make me happy. Those who know Jaws well enough will be able to pick it out right away.
For me this films biggest downfall actually had to do more with the 3D and the way it was filmed. I found that the underwater scenes were muddled and a bit hard to see. I haven’t talked to anyone else about it so it could have been just me. Colors are muted the minute you put those glasses on and this factor detracts from the underwater scenes. It took my eyes a while to adjust to the 3D as well.
The CGI isn’t the greatest, but that didn’t really bother me as much as it does in other films. Perhaps I’m giving this one a pass or not judging it as harshly and I would other films. You don’t go into this film expecting to be served lobster. You go in expecting fish sticks. Keep that in mind and there’s really not much to be disappointed about.
To be honest I can’t really fault the film for anything else. Sure, it could have been higher quality in regards to story, acting, and execution, but like I said before, that’s not what this film is all about. If you go for anything other than blood, boobs or body parts, you’ve gone to the wrong movie.
Reeling it in
Taking all of these factors into consideration, I have to say I was pretty pleased overall with Piranha 3D. If you’re looking for ridiculous escapist fun with loads of blood, floating appendages and college kids being torn apart, then this is the movie for you.
Even though it wasn’t screened for press prior to it’s release, it still seems to have done pretty decently this weekend. It will be interesting to see how it holds up next weekend now that word of mouth will be making the rounds. If it holds up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these types of films in the queue. I could be wrong, but only time will tell.
If you’re on the fence about catching this one my advice to you is to just go with it. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking, just go for fun and you might be surprised. If you have seen it, let us know if you thought it was a nice tasty morsel or if it was just rotten.