Piranha 3D is a remake of a Joe Dante film originally released in 1978. A rip-off of Jaws, but one that surpassed it’s source material in many respects, it was brilliant piece of B-movie fodder, managing to be tense and gory, while providing a tongue-in-cheek take on the horror genre.
Piranha 3D takes what Joe Dante created and brings it into the 21st century. This time, the setting is Lake Victoria, a desolate place struck by an earthquake, causing a rift in the central lake to open, unleashes thousands upon thousands of ravenous prehistoric piranha’s. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the shores of Lake Victoria, spring break is in full swing, with thousands of college students enjoying sun, sea and sex.
Alexandre Aja, directing from a script penned by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, using techniques learnt from Mirrors, The Hills Have Eyes and Switchblade Romance, executes a perfectly gory, tongue-in-cheek B-movie filled with gratuitous nudity and hammy acting. The death scenes are hugely melodramatic, with shed loads of blood, severed limbs and one particularly disturbing scene where Jerry O’Connell’s filmmaker character has his penis eaten by a piranha.
The DVD does offer you the chance to watch it in both 2D and 3D, but to fully appreciate the gore and magnificently inventive death scenes, it’s a film that needs to be experienced in that extra dimension.
The cast play their parts in a terribly humorous and captivating way. Richard Dreyfuss and Christopher Lloyd provide memorable cameo appearances, while Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, Steven R. McQueen and Jessica Szohr make for a weirdly intriguing main cast, each bringing vigour and unique personalities to their respective on-screen characters.
Granted, some people will find it vile, disturbing and unnecessary, but if you look at it as it’s intended to be seen, as a shlock horror film, then it’s very well done. While the 3D doesn’t add anything per se, it does provide an extra dimension to the on-screen torment, ramping up the horror factor to whole a other level.
Piranha 3D is a thoroughly entertaining and profoundly gory horror creature feature. Near-perfect, guilty pleasure schlock. It is pretty much everything Snakes on a Plane wanted to be, and a little more.