Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Movie Review: Piranha 3D

Gore connoisseur Alexandre Aja of High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes (remake) fame brings us his latest opus of blood, Piranha 3D. The film, as the title suggests, has 'prehistoric' piranhas as the death dealers in this horror story remake. The dormant piranha are released from their subterranean lake prison via an earthquake. It is explained later by the eccentric fish expert Henry (Christopher Loyd) that they must have been surviving in there underground lake for millions of years by cannibalizing each other.Ok, why not. The veracious horde of piranha then pour into Lake Victoria (Lake Havasu in reality) causing mayhem and horror for spring break party goers and townies alike. Few will survive and many will die. Not a scientifically plausible scenario, but does a horror movie need to be? The acting is decent and the gore is surprisingly excellent. I'm not a fan of CGI or 3D for the most part in horror movies, but it works well here with the death scenes more so than with the actual piranhas. But hey ,just go with it.

                            Red eyes? They found some weed maybe?

The film mainly follows Elizabeth Shue as the tough town sheriff Julie and her slightly emo and lovelorn son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) trying to stop and survive the onslaught respectively. Mrs. Shue is pretty good in her tough woman role, but she isn't on screen too much until the end where she is rescuing pedestrians from the lake and her children. I would've thought given her acting caliber that we would see more of her, but no. Maybe it was her gargantuan breasts that were distracting people. Who knows. Her son Jake played by Steven R. McQueen is ok as well. Nothing special here. He spends most of his time trying to pretend that he's not in love with his friend Kelly (Jessica Szhor). I must say her acting is mediocre at best. The role is kind of annoying and almost pointless. Just a plot device to have a love interest for the young buck Jake. He finally does man up near the end of the flick. So instead of pining for Kelly the whole movie he actually saves her from certain piranha death. Good job buddy. Adam (Novak Radzinsky) shows up kind of late in the movie as the lead seismologist investigating the eathquake and underground lake. He does a good job as a quasi hero and has a bit of charisma to go with it. Also we have the hilarious and intense Jerry O'Connell as Derrick Jones. He plays the over the top and slimy Wild Wild Girls director loosely based on Joe Francis. He enlists young Jake to show him around the lake on his boat while he films his two starlets Crystal and Danni. He has some pretty funny dialogue and he steals most of the scenes he's in. After he's eaten up from the waist down he exclaims "They got my dick" to Jake. Good stuff. The two porn starlets are quite sexy and pretty much half or fully naked the whole movie. Fine by me. The gorgeous Kelly Brook plays Danni, but doesn't have too much screen time. What time she does get she only exudes seduction. Ving Rhames as deputy Fallon also isn't on screen too much, but when he is, he lets those pesky flesh eaters have it. In a cool scene he takes the motor from a speedboat and starts tearing up some piranha in an effort to save dying teens.

                                   My boy Ving is going to do some choppin.

There are some fun cameo rolls by Richard Dryfuss of Jaws fame. He basically reprises his role from Jaws in the beginning of this movie. Even going as far as to sing "Show Me the Way to go Home" song before the piranhas make him lunch. Did he just need the money? Apparently famous producer convinced him to do the role for a higher salary which he then donated to charity. Next there is Eli Roth who plays the emcee of the wet t-shirt contest. He plays the role well as a typical douchebag with high powered water guns in hand(He's not in real life). He meets a gruesome end after the ensuing mayhem of a piranha attack and boat decapitates him. I love the fact that he's willing to do various cameo's in horror movies. Finally there is Christopher Loyd as Henry the local fish expert. Of course you need one of those in this movie. He plays his typical eccentric role here. Not too over the top and it's not overbearing.

         Crystal and Danni getting friendly with each other. This is half of the movie.

The CGI for the film is pretty good all around. Though I don't really care for the scenes were you see too much of the piranhas. The strictly underwater sequences stick out as not particularly great, but the creature design itself is pretty cool. However, the gore effects are actually surprisingly very good. So for fans of blood and guts, you will have plenty to keep your eyes busy. I particularly like the scene in which a girl gets her head stuck in a motor propeller. Her face and scalp are promptly ripped off. Sweet!

                            O'Connell getting taste tested by the little bugga's.

The plot line and scientific data here is paper thin and the editing can be a little choppy at times as well. Not a big deal because the film works on that basic level of an human ancient fear. What's in the water? It's a simple formula that can work well if executed properly though I think this film only half got it right. The soundtrack was probably the most annoying thing about the movie. We get it, it's supposed to be hip.......or something. Only problem is that it fails miserably. All in all not a good horror film, but not as bad as I was expecting. Due to the success of this film there is a second on coming. Maybe second times a charm. Feel free to watch it for some bloody fun, but don't expect to leave feeling extremely satisfied. Again, just have fun with it. On that level it works extremely well. 3/5 skulls my friends.

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