Review — Piranha 3D

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Danny Moltrasi, Film, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


[Reviewed by: Danny Moltrasi]

“There’s thousands of them, and they’re pissed.”

Despite a plea from the cast and crew for Piranha 3D to be considered for Oscar nomination recently, I think it is fairly safe to say that Piranha 3D won’t be getting too close to any awards this season. In fact, I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Piranha 3D is not one of the best films out this year. A mixture of a weak storyline, bad acting, bad directing, poor use of 3D and weak attempts to push sex and blood into our faces rounds up everything about Piranha 3D. However, there is also some small amount of charm in there. Piranha 3D is exploitation cinema at its highest. It has the gore, it has a remake, it has a sequel, it has the sex, and it has the extra couple of dollars earned for it being in 3D. It knows that it’s never going to leave much of an impression on the audience, except a few cheap laughs.

The film has a very simple storyline. A horde of piranhas are released after an earthquake opens up an area in the lake that was previously cut off a couple of million years ago. As they slowly return, there is only one thing on their mind, eating anything and everything! We are taken along on a boat that is shooting a porn film by the young son of Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue), Jake Forester (Steven R. McQueen). As they, unaware of the chaos that is about to take place, continue to film their porn film, the piranhas attack a coastal spring break party where dozens of people die. The film then proceeds to take all the expected turns, until it finishes with a perfect set-up for the sequel.

Piranha 3D is an exploitation film, there’s no two ways about that. It does exactly what it says on the tin in this respect. If you wanted to see gore, sex and lots of breasts, you got it here. Director Alexandre Aja knew his audience, and he knew exactly what they would have wanted. However, it is not really executed in the best manner, and despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the whole project, it just doesn’t really come off most the time. For example, we are given a couple minute sequence of two girls swimming around naked in the water, a kind of scene that would be expected in this kind of film. But, it lasts too long, it has some classical music over it that is meant to make it seem more mystical, but it just fails. We are sat there watching pretty much an underwater porn film for a couple of minutes, in 3D. Moving onto the gore, we have the scene where the piranhas attack the spring break party, and all hell follows. We have blood, screaming, breasts, more blood, just everywhere. We have a woman carried out onto the coast, only to suddenly rip in half with one intestine connecting her while she still screams, until that breaks and she suddenly dies. We have a girl’s hair and face ripped off by a boat. We have a girl cut in half by a wire, with her bra falling off first, then the top half of her body slowly slides away from the rest as she dies. There is the director of the porn film, Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell), having his penis taken and eaten by the piranha’s, while he cries “They took my penis!”. Some true horror feat of castration stuff there. It all does exactly what it is meant to, but Aja just drags it out too long, it becomes boring and repetitive.

The 3D in the film also has to be taken into consideration, as 3D is obviously a large selling point for it. I’ve only seen about three or four films in 3D, but this is by far the worst I have had to endure. As has come to be common knowledge now, 3D glasses makes the screen a lot darker. When there is a film that has bits of it set underwater, in darkness, it’s nearly impossible to work out what is going on. Its off-putting, and becomes frustrating for the audience. Apart from that, Aja has tried his best to take advantage of the 3D. We have bits of fish flying up into our faces, and maybe the most disgusting bit is being puked on. To be honest, on the very few occasions I want to watch a 3D film, I don’t really want to be puked on. That might just be me though. It will take me something special in order to convince me of the benefits of 3D, but this has only sent me the wrong way. I may be wrong with whom I am quoting, but I believe it was Sergei Eisenstein who said way back in the early days that the reason film was different was because there was no sound, no colour and was shown on a flat-screen. I’ve been just about won over with having sound and colour, but I am firmly in Eisenstein’s camp with the 3D.

Director, Aja, has obviously had lots of fun making this film, and in many respects that comes through in the film, however, he just doesn’t cut up to some expectations. He has obviously been very influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, and there are lots of Psycho themes in it. However, one moment stood out for its awfulness, a ‘Vertigo Zoom’ that was so out of place, and so badly executed, that it made me laugh out loud. And then, there is the obvious comparison with Jaws. Jaws, the lone shark that stalks the waters for its single attacks, its scary and haunting. Piranha 3D , has thousands of piranhas swim and eat dozens of people in an orgy of chaos and blood. It just seems to sum up an age of excess, where more is always better, no matter what the quality is. We want more blood, and we want it now! Where Jaws managed to build its atmosphere through a number of means, Piranha 3D just fails.

Piranha 3D does what you expect, and sometimes it does it well, however the majority of the time it does not. Aja has a few flirtatious attempts to try stepping it up a gear, but these just end up being poor attempts most of the time, and on a couple of occasions are just silly. The acting is terrible, the storyline fairly predictable and the sex and violence become tiresome. It’s enjoyable in some ways, but in many more ways, it just drags on.



  1. terk says:

    2 stars? You are very very wrong sir.

  2. Danny Moltrasi says:

    What were your thoughts on the film? I’ve noticed lots of other reviewers have been positive about the film, I honestly feel I must have watched something else!

    I think I mention it in the review, but because there is certain attempts to be cheesy, and bad, its hard to exactly define when its bad funny, and when its just bad bad.

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