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John’s Horror Corner: Piranha 3D

July 8, 2011

By: John Leavengood

MY CALL:    This movie was architected for high school and college guys who like energetic, fun-kill-filled flicks with no more pertinent plot than “these piranhas happen to be in this lake and start killing Spring Breakers”.  If you’ve ever enjoyed a movie like that, then taking issue with Piranha is like faulting a crack whore for her spilt ends.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This is a “check your brain at the door” and enjoy kind of movie.  [B, for a good B-horror]

IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  Piranha (1978), Piranha 2: The Spawning (1981), Food of the Gods II (1989, skip part one), and the Jaws series (which is due for an honorable, thoughtful remake).  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:    If you want a somewhat biologically accurate animal-turned-monster flick, then I strongly suggest Lake Placid (1999).  Many of my doctorate-toting biologist friends enjoyed it without many “Oh, God, they got that all wrong” moments.  If you want something more sci-fi stupid-ish, then try Deep Blue Sea, perhaps.

Quite a cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Jerry O’Connell, Adam Scott, Dina Meyer, and a cameo by Eli Roth.  Was it worth it?  I think so!  This remake (which is at least as fun as the original) kicks off like Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break, foreshadowing gratuitous nudity for teenagers with Netflix across the globe.  Appropriately, Jerry O’Connell plays the “Wild, Wild Girls” director/producer who goes to a small, Spring Break-friendly lake town in the Southwest to make his fortune.  Meanwhile Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames play local cops trying to keep Spring Break order.  Good luck.

This flick gets pretty Jaws-ish pretty fast.  Shue finds a body and considers closing the lake.  But the lake is too big of a Spring Break cash cow for her small town.  Back to funville, satirical gratuitous nudity has already begun in the form synchronized swimming performed by two “Wild, Wild” girls to an operatic soundtrack.  How tasteful.

Now for some explanation of these piranhas’ origin…

There’s seismic activity which opened an underwater chasm, through which the piranhas escaped from an underwater lake, previously sealed off for a way like-dinosaur-long time.  Naturally, it’s filled with eggs.  Some seismology researchers want to investigate but, come on?  Scuba-diving in a movie called Piranha?  They never stood a chance.

Christopher Lloyd plays some dude who owns an aquarium store who, based on his level of expertise, holds a doctorate in fish systematics (naturally specializing on piranhas).  He instantly recognizes a captured specimen as representing a species which went extinct two million years ago.  An amateur paleontologist as well, hmmm?  He even has a fossil of that exact species in his store!  Shouldn’t that be in a museum, bro?

The CGI attacks are fun and better than any made-for-ScyFy Saturday night movies.  The kill-humor is 80’s-chic and includes eyeballs being tugged from their sockets.  Some other kill-innovations include clever boat collisions, high tension wires, a girl getting scalped by a boat engine propeller, and a fish eating its way out of a person’s mouth.  Breast implants, a severed penis and disembodied eyeballs drift about in this tidal chaos as well.  Oh, and a piranha eats and then belches out a dick, there are lots of “halves” of people, one woman is “accidently” torn in half by her rescuers, and a dude walks on his bone foot.  Nothing but fun, folks!!!  I’m giving you pearls here!

What happens to O’Connell is absolutely priceless and even the very last moment of the movie is hilarious!  I enjoyed this so much that I ordered it the same day and, with a little beer, I’d gladly watch it with friends two nights in a row.  It’s that fun

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