Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Danielle Panabaker,
Matt Bush, Katrina Bowden, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, David Koechner, Paul James Jordan,
Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd
Director: John Gulager
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: See Review
Length: 83 Minutes
Release Date: September 4, 2012
“JOSH CUT OFF HIS PENIS BECAUSE SOMETHING CAME OUT OF MY VAGINA!!”
Piranha 3DD...doesn't the title tell you everything you need to know about this picture? If not, read on...
Those pesky fish with their huge appetites and absurd plot lines are back, and coming right at you. Piranha might have been one movie that never needed a remake, much less a sequel, but if you're going to do it, you might as well go for broke.
That's exactly what the filmmakers did here, abandoning noisome qualities like good taste, dignity, self respect and more, delivering a bizarre but definitely as-advertised shocker that delivers a couple of scares, a couple of laughs, but mostly a whole lot of shaking-your-head moments.
The notion that prehistoric piranha have lived millions of years in underground lakes and are finding their way through pipes into our safest water havens is...well, going to have to be accepted if we're going to go any further. This time around, it's a big theme park where the unscrupulous owner (Koechner) has big plans...namely, a park where tops are optional, and if "you're double D, you swim for free".
Of course, tapping into an undiscovered underground water source means trouble, and trouble comes in the form of fast, hungry, and badly animated and puppeted mutant freak fish. There's blood and carnage, and plenty of bare chests. Like I said, the title says it all.
The plot, such as it is, involves the owner's stepdaughter (Panabaker) and friends discovering the danger, but of course, no one listens...after all, what fun would a wave pool full of piranha be if everybody actually DID just get the hell out of the water when she says?
The movie throws everything you'd want or imagine, including the fish disrupting a couple of sex scenes in ways that I'd rather not describe. Everybody and everything is fair game as fish food.
The best pleasure of the movie is David Hasselhoff, who once starred in two highly successful TV shows, but seems to have a career these days just being a good sport. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and showing up as a guest lifeguard on the park's opening day is proof. “So this is rock bottom,” he muses. I'm not sure if he meant opening the park or appearing in this film. But he gets a few laughs at his own expense...stay tuned through the credits for more.
As for 3D, to some fans it's an exciting and, if not new, certainly improved technology that adds to the fun of moviegoing. To others, it's a detracting gimmick. In this movie, it's definitely the latter, but once again, read the title. You know what you bought a ticket for.
In the end, it's kind of in between...it's not bad enough to be good, and despite the filmmakers throwing in everything imaginable, it's not destined to either be a landmark horror film or a cult classic. But is it for you? The title says it all.
This is a decent 3D presentation...some slight ghosting is noticeable here and there, but for the most part, it delivers the effects cleanly. Underwater shots in 3D are a particularly good use of the medium. Colors are bright, but there's not a lot of demand for detail level here...you've seen one toothy fish, you've seen them all. I noticed no grain or compression artifacts, probably owing to Anchor Bay opting to put all the extras on the included 2D disc so that the 3D version has all the space needed for 3D, high definition and uncompressed audio.
Speaking of which, the DTS HD audio works favorably...not as much rear stage usage as you might expect from a horror film, but cleanly rendered dialogue and plenty of dynamic range give this listening experience a nice punch.
As mentioned, the extras are all on the second disc, and they include filmmaker commentary and four featurettes, with amusing looks at both Hasselhoff and Gary Busey. There are deleted scenes and the short film “A Lesson with John McEnroe”. There is also a third bonus digital copy disc.
Jaws made me afraid to go into the ocean, but Piranha 3DD certainly won't keep me out of water parks. If you're in the mood, this will offer diversion enough, but if the title isn't your taste, chances are you didn't even click on this review.