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Joseph’s Rating: 8/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.3/10
(3 reviews total)
Piranha 3D isn’t so much a horror flick as it is an extremely gory comedy. How refreshing it is to be surprised by some recent films that are self-aware enough to not treat themselves too seriously. If Piranha 3D did, it would be nothing more than a dismal rip-off of Jaws. Instead, it offers one of the more enjoyable movie experiences so far in 2010. What that says about 2010, I don’t know.
Jake Forester (Steven R. McQueen) lives in Springbreakvacationbeachtown with his siblings and mother (Elizabeth Shue), who also happens to be the town sheriff and is understandably overwhelmed by the events of the week. Jake laments the fact that he has to spend another Spring Break babysitting the younguns when he’s offered the opportunity to shoot some nudie footage for a fictional Joe Francis character (Jerry O’Connell) and pays the little ones to stay home while he galavants around on a boat with some naked chicks and the seemingly unattainable object of his affection, Kelly (Jessica Szohr). The aforementioned characters and about 900 drunk college kids will fall victim to an utterly ginormous school of prehistoric piranha that have survived in an underwater lake (apparently such things exist) for the last several million years.
It certainly helped to go into the film with pretty low expectations, which is part of the genius of that simple title that just conveys lameness. The first indication that the movie was going to be fun though came in the first ten seconds with a delightful cameo by Richard Dreyfuss as the first victim of the flesh-eating fish. In addition to Dreyfuss, another actor shows up about halfway through the movie that had an effect similar to Bill Murray’s in Zombieland. The actor doesn’t play himself, but a fish expert, and when he shows up the first thought you’ll have is, “where have you been all my life!” Piranha 3D has all kinds of little gold nuggets such as that scattered throughout.
All of the actors do very well with their parts. McQueen plays Jake as the straight man (figuratively) to offset O’Connell’s goofy porn-maker, and the child actors (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan) are particularly memorable in their exchanges. It’s also always good to see Adam Scott in anything.
Then there’s comedic effect of the over-the-top violence and gore. One sequence in the final third of the movie has the piranha attacking hundreds of swimming partiers. The whole encounter resembles some sort of perverted version of the Omaha Beach landing in Saving Private Ryan. Water stained red, bodies missing various appendages, et cetera. Be warned, if you can’t handle gore, even played for laughs, you might need to steer clear of this one, which had to be trimmed to avoid the deadly NC-17 rating. The film adds a similar spin on the gratuitous nudity that so often appears in movies like this. It’s still gratuitous, yes, but also incredibly funny.
A word/rant about 3D: I think it’s an annoying gimmick and often after viewing one I walk out of the theater belittling myself for paying three extra dollars for a headache. I hope it dies in a fire. Having said that, Piranha had some great shots in it for 3D, not the least of which involved projectile vomit and a severed penis (curious now?). I think the film would be just as fun in 2D, but those of you who like 3D will get what you want out of this movie, not like that ghastly Clash of the Titans.
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Peter Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg
Starring: Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Steven R. McQueen
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Dinah thought: “You know those movies that warm your heart? No, I’m not talking about How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I’m talking about movies so bad they tickle you in your soul and become instant classics to watch over and over with friends. Piranha 3D is so deviously special you’ll be ripping it long after you’ve left the theater. The makers of this nod to the 1978 original give you your $3.50 worth of 3-D effects. No, it isn’t Avatar caliber. It’s more the original cheesy form of 3D with gnarly fish, vomit, and naked women popping out in depth. The acting isn’t terrible — a surprising deviation from typical teen terrors. The additions of more mature actors Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, and a spot on Chris O’Connell helps fill out the cast of unknown newbies, prop extras, and cameos including Eli Roth and a XXX actress. As is typical of modern horror, Piranha 3D isn’t scary but it is full of carnage and cheap shocks. This tacky cinema dish is so good at being bad it’s actually delightful and enjoyable.” Rating 7/10
Simon thought: “Though I have never wondered what it would look like for a school of Piranha to fight over a severed human schlong, I now have little choice but to revisit the image in my mind thanks to Alexandre Aja and crew. Piranha 3D is one of the purest instances of a “B movie” I have seen in many years, perhaps since horror films of this ilk were not created with the sole purpose of being a schlocky treat, but rather grew to such a status over years of cult worship. Ample laughs, nudity and truly excessive gore form this film’s bones and if any of those three characteristics repel you, I see no reason why you would enjoy this movie. In the key scene a hungry pack of piranha shred a harbour filled of partying teens and I will tell you it is certainly something. I’m not sure what, but it is something. Disturbing and awwww-inducing in tandem is Piranha 3D‘s mantra and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Rating: 7/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 7.3/10