Paul James Jordan
3D piranha movie
Trivia Actually filmed in 3D rather than converted.
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Piranha 3DD (2012)
20th Feb 13
Piranhas from the first film invade an adult orientated water park.
It’s a year after the events of the last film and the lake and associated small town have been abandoned since the tourism trade dried up as a result. At a nearby lake two unlucky fisherman (Jake Busey and Clu Gulager – his son directed this you know) are investigating a dead cow bobbing around in the water, only to discover piranha eggs have been laid inside it. They hatch, and those cameos end pretty quickly.
In steps final girl Maddy, a marine biology student (of course) who returns from college for the summer break to the water park she co-owns with her step dad. He has a controlling interest, so while she’s been away he’s constructed an ‘adults only’ area with water strippers and everything to draw in the crowds, and the grand opening is only a few days away. That night a bunch of her friends party by the lake where she meets ex-boyfriend Kyle, who’s now the local deputy, a dweeby guy named Barry who’s always had the hots for her, and a few other random vacuous teenagers who are obviously just there for piranha fodder, especially those two that make out in the van.
Next day Maddy and another girl are attacked by piranha by the lake and Maddy kicks in to full on marine biology mode, taking the one she finds to Christopher Lloyd from the first film with her two suitors (the cop and the dweeb) in tow. They start to investigate where the piranhas are coming from, and the film moves in to a cycle of piranha investigation, random death, piranha investigation, random death, with most deaths involving teenagers about to have sex.
In the end they theorise the piranhas are getting to the lake via underground rivers, around the same time we discover the step-dad water park owner has been illegally pumping water from underground rivers to cut costs for his new adult water park. Can you see where this is going?
Director John Gulager cut his teeth working on the Feast trilogy, which has garnered a bit of a following for its great balance of enclosed horror, comedy and action, so you’d think Piranha 3DD would be in safe hands. He even gets his dad Clu Gulager to pop in for a cameo death. But the reason Piranha 3DD fails to impress is because it falls in the trap so many Slasher sequels did in the 80s, in that the story, whatever there is, is propped up by a bunch of bland characters you don’t really care about. In Piranha 3D you wanted that guy to save the girl and his brother and sister while not getting in too much trouble with his mum, you wanted that guy to get his penis bitten off and you didn’t want Kelly Brook to die (okay, maybe some of you did). In the sequel, you’re really not that bothered about how Maddy and her mates whose names you can’t remember are doing and the plot feels like a jigsaw of investigating piranha stuff and piranha kills all racing to a final set piece. Having that disconnect from the characters means you’re just waiting to see who goes next, how inventive the death can be, or the next bit of gratuitous nudity, if you’re that way inclined.
There’s gore, but it comes mostly as blood splashed teenagers screaming with rubber fake limbs bobbing about and some CG gore added over the top. There’s quite a lot of boobs too, at the end especially (they weren’t CG) which has to be mentioned further because of two funny cameos. Ving Rhames is back as the same character from the first movie albeit with no legs. His carer is taking him to a water park to help him conquer his fear of water since he lost his legs to piranhas. Meanwhile, David Hasselhoff is so awful it’s actually quite funny playing himself, the most famous lifeguard who isn’t really a lifeguard, and his face is a picture when he finally get to rescue someone (to the Baywatch soundtrack)
In terms of cinematography, sound, editing, etc, it’s all very functional, and the 3D effects are on okay - on a par with the first film. The one thing the movie has got going for it though is it’s pacing, it does tend to whip along (investigate piranha for a bit, random piranha attack, repeat for a bit, finale), but that’s not very hard for a movie that’s 83 minutes long including all the credits.
So, only really for fans of 3D piranha movies with boobs in that play like crap Slasher sequels, with a bit of David Hasselhoff.