Monday, January 24, 2011

Piranha 3D

French filmmaker Alexandre Aja, who had already directed remakes of THE HILLS HAVE EYES and MIRRORS, tackles a Joe Dante 1978 B-picture classic, this time in 3D. Aside from how gory and sleazy the nasty affair is, the most amazing part of Aja’s PIRANHA is cameos by Richard Dreyfuss (redonning his Matt Hooper duds to play the film’s first victim) and Christopher Lloyd, who may have only read the scenes they’re in.

It’s rare to see a major studio so gleefully release a film with as much bloody mayhem and unabashed nudity as PIRANHA has. Much of it is needlessly meanspirited, which takes some of the joy out of watching people mangled and chewed in two. The superb makeup effects by Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero are stomach-churning re-creations of chewed-up limbs and faceless skulls. However, the CGI fish are a mite dodgy. For instance, it’s obvious Dreyfuss refused to get wet for his death scene, forcing Aja to use highly unconvincing visual effects to show the actor being drawn into a whirlpool and chomped to death.

Spring break at Lake Victoria, Arizona (though Aja shot at Lake Havasu). While Sheriff Forester (Elizabeth Shue getting top billing) and Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) are trying to keep the peace, sleazy producer Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell playing Girls Gone Wild entrepreneur Joe Francis, unless the lawyers are around, then he isn’t) and his party girls Danni (Kelly Brook) and Crystal (porn actress Riley Steele) are roaming the lake shooting their next video. The sheriff’s teenage son Jake (Steven R. McQueen, the son of actor Chad and grandson of Steve McQueen) ditches babysitting duty to tag along on Jones’ yacht, but his fantasy of making out with Danni is harshed when Derrick invites Jake’s crush Kelly (GOSSIP GIRL’s Jessica Szohr) aboard too.

There’s also Adam Scott (PARTY DOWN) as an unlikely action hero, Sage Ryan and Brooklyn Proulx as endangered little kids, and, of course, TAXI eccentric Lloyd as a vaguely Doc Brownesque mad scientist. It all seems a little crowded—don’t forget the hundreds of swimsuit-clad extras gyrating everywhere—but more is the merrier when you’re crafting a bloody movie about hungry piranha and need a body count.


Temple of Schlock said...

FASTER should've been released during the summer, because it's the closest anyone came to delivering a fun B-flick to theaters in 2010. As for PIRANHA, it's piss poor on every conceivable level. We gave the 3D version a wide berth after hearing how bad it looked and decided instead to see it a drive-in, where it was second fiddle to MACHETE (another embarrassing waste of time, by the way). Don't you dare complain about Matt Cimber or Lee Frost movies after giving passing scores to this phony baloney crap, Mr. McKee!

Richard Harland Smith said...

That's Adam Scott of Parks and Rec, d'uh!