The remake of Piranha that came out a few years ago was a bloody good time. Filled to the brim with crazy gore, comedy and a competent understanding of 80s low-budget horror movie tropes, Piranha 3D reveled in it’s excess of blood and boobs thanks to the talents of director Alexandre Aja.
The inevitable sequel, Piranha 3DD, attempts to double the amount of violence and nudity while pulling back on the scale of its predecessor. Instead of taking place on a resort lake like the first film, this one takes place primarily within the confines of a water park. Yes, a water park. Water slides, snack bar and a wading pool for the kiddies. Feeling underwhelmed yet?
Lake Victoria has become a ghost town due to the eradication of the prehistoric piranha leaving the water uninhabitable. However, a nearby water park is hoping to draw big Spring Break crowds due to the owner opening an “adults only” section that features strippers and all the alcohol the tourists could possibly want. With dollar signs on the brain he doesn’t seem to care that the water being pumped into the park is coming from Lake Victoria, and with it a new strain of piranha that are hungry for flesh.
I understand that the film is being played for laughs and it’s all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but I just don’t like the sense of humor that writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan infuse into their horror comedies. The original Feast I consider a minor classic. The sequels, Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds and Feast 3: The Happy Finish, are some of the worst pieces of insulting crap I’ve ever seen. They go out of their way to, in my eyes, infuriate the audience with some of the dumbest shit ever typed into Final Draft. The tossing of the baby scene? The never ending monster’s bodily fluids scene? The catapult scene? Seriously, who thought these were good ideas? I do enjoy their Saw sequels and The Collector series, but when they try to be funny they fail like no one can.
I also blame director John Gulager, who also directed the Feast films. When he made the first Feast, he was under the guidance of the Project: Greenlight crew and had some quality back-up to keep him on track. Without them he seems to go off the rails. His embellishments and attempts at comedy just don’t seem to jibe. I will admit that he has talent, but maybe he should try to make a serious film, be it horror or otherwise, next time because the sense of humor he displays seems to be in a style only he and the writers find funny.
There are some ideas that I did find pretty hysterical, like the baby piranha swimming up Katrina Bowden’s chach. During sex it emerges and attacks her boyfriend’s member, which he promptly chops off. Her “Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!” line is classic. I also liked the scene where, during a panic at the water park, David Koechner accidentally runs over the head of a grieving boy’s mother with a golf cart, and while trying to console the boy he accidentally backs over it again. David Hasslehoff’s “You little ginger bastard!” cracked me up too. The rest not so much.
The whole production looks cheap and bargain basement. I’m aware that the budget decreased when compared to the original since this was supposed to be a direct-to-video release that ended up receiving a limited theatrical run, but I’m sure the production could have done something to make this look more professional. I mean, come on! James Wan took $1.5m and made Insidious look like it cost $50m! Put some effort into it!
The acting is pretty bad too. I do like the fact that Danielle Panabaker is emerging as one of a new line of scream queens (Mr. Brooks, Friday the 13th, The Crazies, The Ward), but this is her Terror Train. She doesn’t add anything to the film at all, and neither does any of the cast except maybe the return of Ving Rhames as the legless Deputy Fallon (“Get me my legs!”).
I wasn’t able to see this in 3D due to my renting it on VOD, so maybe I was missing something that added an extra “oomph!” to the film, but from what I could tell the effect was barely used in any effective ways except for the random shot of something flying at the camera.
There is a blooper/outtake reel that plays over the end credits, and when this ends up being more entertaining that the film that precedes it you know something is wrong. While I do think this is a step up from the Feast sequels, this is still a far cry from the vastly superior remake. I can’t fully recommend it except to those who actually enjoyed the Feast sequels because this treads on some of the same ground as those festering turds. I was not one of them.