August 20, 2010
Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg
Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Boyd
Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon
Elisabeth Shue as Julie Forester
Steven R. McQueen as Jake Forester
Christopher Lloyd as Mr. Goodman
Jerry O'Connell as Derrick Jones
Lake Victoria is a hot spot for Spring Breakers, girls gone wild and porn producers, for some reason. The normally sleepy town suddenly has plenty of resources, restaurants and liquor for thousands of crazy college kids every year. What they don’t have, surprisingly, is more than a couple police officers to help keep the peace.
This year the revelers are in full force, and the chief law enforcement officer (Elisabeth Shue) has her work cut out for her. Not only are there obnoxious boys and scantily-clad women running around but she also has a teenage son (Steven R. McQueen) hot to follow some strippers to a porn filming session instead of babysitting his young siblings… and, of course, there are the prehistoric piranhas.
There was some seismic activity under the lake that opened a chasm into another underground lake, and that one was wrought with hungry strangeness. Can the Sherriff clear the kids from the water before the neurotic nibblers find the grand bikini-borne buffet?
There is a lot to like about Piranha 3D, and some things not to like as well. Enjoyment of this gore-filled fiesta is wholly dependant on attitude and expectations. On one hand Piranha 3D does a wonderful job on many levels of fear including jolt-scares, suspense, gore and shocking kills. There are characters that one can actually be concerned about and care whether they succeed or fail in out-swimming the scaled scavengers from hell, which doesn’t happen often enough in horror of late.
Several of the kill scenes are extremely imaginative, and most fears associated with some water-borne creature lurking under the surface and getting you when you least expect it are acted out on the screen. I, for one, will remember this film the next time I sit in an inner-tube. Not since Jaws has a film made going into the water the source of such angst and phobia.
On the other hand…
Piranha 3D does not develop most of the characters nearly well enough, yet takes several liberties with wholly un-developed characters meant to elicit a response. One notable example is when one character that we’re all supposed to hate finally gets chomped to bits by a school of fishies, yet other than his actions immediately pre-mealtime it is hard to understand why he was chosen and why we were supposed to hate him. I could just tell that I was supposed to.
The acting performances in this film are generally pretty good (surprisingly), with the exception of Christopher Lloyd’s interpretation of the crazy fish salesman which was over-acted and ridiculous, even for Christopher Lloyd. The script, though, was very distracting. Sure, we’re talking about prehistoric fish that eat naked girls, but many of the things that characters say and do are just too stupid to even be funny. Maybe it’s just the camp thrown in randomly and without warning, I don’t know. Anyway…
Piranha 3D is great fun and will surely bring a sound “yell out loud” from most who watch it, but it is highly recommended that expectations be kept in check. Many of the horror films that have been produced in 2010 and for a few years prior share some common traits including high CGI content for effects, slick Nighttime Soap production quality and “waste no time with boring character development or storyline” impatience to get to the “good stuff”. Piranha 3D fits the mold. The film is fun, but fun is all you get.