Review: Blood, Flesh and Fish in ‘Piranha 3D’

Title: Piranha 3D
Studio: Atmosphere Entertainment
Director: Alexandre Aja
Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Steven R. McQueen, Jerry O’Connell, Adam Scott, Paul Scheer

Boobs and blood: not really two things that go together (unless you’re into some weird, kinky stuff), but the sole promise of loving tribute to 70s exploitation films, Piranha 3D.

And man, do they deliver. On top of setting this movie during Spring Break (and all the Girls Gone Wildness associated with that), the minds behind Piranha 3D also decided to add a couple porn stars to the roster. You know, to help ‘round’ out the cast. Breasts.

On top of that, the film used about 80,000 gallons of fake blood. 80,000! That makes that scene from The Shining where the blood rushes down the hallway look like a paper cut.

And you have no idea how much I wanted to give a glowing review to such a proud and honest, flag-waving, B-movie that gives the audience exactly what it expects and stays true to all the clichés that make this sub-genre so entertaining. A CGI piranha eats a guy’s penis and then spits it back out. Just sayin’.

But, Piranha 3D has some serious flaws that kill a lot of the fun. For one, the 3D option is only available in that crappy, up-conversion 3D (the kind used in Clash of the Titans). This darkens every shot in the movie and makes underwater scenes nearly impossible to see, and for a movie involving killer fish, that’s a lot. It would be one thing if the 2D version was widely available to everyone, but unfortunately for most theatre-goers, it’s crappy 3D or nothing.

Also, for a movie which is supposed to be a fun, mindless, hell of a good time, I barely laughed at all. Of course, there’s no rule saying that an exploitation film like this has to be funny, it’s just, when the promotional ‘Oscar bid’ for Piranha 3D was so clever, I kind of expected the film to follow suit. There’s nothing in this film as funny as Paul Scheer telling the Academy that he ‘gives good Oscar’.

But there are a few moments of cleverness, including a terrific opening reference to Jaws. It’s just a shame that when there isn’t skin or blood on the screen, the film slows to a crawl.

But let’s not over-think this too much. This is a movie about thousands of ravenous, prehistoric piranhas that devour hundreds of half-naked teenagers. You are either sold by that sentence or you aren’t.

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