So you buy a ticket to a film called a “Piranha 3-D.” Its posters, are often suggestive. They usually featured an open mouthed fish with rows upon rows of teeth, portrayed to be sharp enough to shred the fragile thing that is a human body to pieces. Then, you have a woman, scantily clad in a bikini. What’d you expect? Me? I expected nothing but these two elements combined into an enjoyable, no-thinking required exploitation monster film. Characters? Who cares? They’re going to die, anyway. Dialogs? Unless these fishes could talk, better keep it at minimum. Better put an extra effort on anguish screams of terror. Plot? If it’s plausible enough to have these fishes ripped a body apart, I’m sold. Yeah, this film is a definitely an exploitation film and putting it up there with films labeled by many as the best, the masterpiece, the breakthrough, the rules changing achievement might be an insult to many. But hey, I’ve managed to put everything aside and expecting nothing more from an exploitation film could offer and guess what? It doesn’t disappoint. In fact, this film is going to be my fourth entry of the year 2010 films that I’m most definitely going to buy its original DVD/Blu-Ray at the end of the year. Not necessarily the fourth best, but it’s going to be one of the films I’ll want to remember from the year 2010. Years from now, this film is going to be a cult classic. Well, according to me, at the very least.
The film opens in a ‘meh’ note. All the cheesy elements you’ve undoubtedly familiar with, if you’re a fan of a horror genre, are incorporated in the opening scene. Plus, the obvious, if not sloppy CGI work almost put me to a massive disappointment. However, when the opening scene ends and we see the first opening title for the first time, I was all smiles. Alexandre Aja knows full well about what he was offering to his audiences. That he intended to make an intentionally campy monster film, a homage, if you will, to the exploitation genre and he conveys the message, as well as an invitation to the audiences to have fun, simply with his choice of opening title card. Old school, cheesy, campy, and all the best and probably more from the B-movie genre. It promises of fun things yet to come, and the film kept its promises to the very letter, to the very minute.
What surprising from the film, and particularly shown the craftsman of Aja and his team behind the camera, is that the film actually takes care of its characters. As far as a horror slash exploitation films go, they’re pretty solid. Even down to the cast-types such as the unbelievably too handsome but socially-ousted and inherently-good teenage boy who helplessly in love with this sweet and ‘innocent’ girl who merely saw him as a ‘friend’ and instead dating a jock who visibly disliked the inherently-good teenage boy. Now, this is a personal note, but really, we, the inherently ‘good’ guys should be insulted with these kind of cast-types. In real life, well, in my version of a real life, if the girl I’m in love with doesn’t care about me even if someone had thrown a glass of soda in my direction, the girl in question was probably doesn’t worth to be desired. But as I was saying, even down to the cast-types, this film has more hearts than many films whose intentions are similar. To shock and gross. And then there’s Jerry O’Connell. Somebody give him an Oscar, please 😀 His last line of dialog will be much remembered 😛
Lake Victoria is apparently a favorite destination among youths to spend their Spring break partying, and probably fornicating, under the Sun and under the water and once in a year, the town where Lake Victoria resides suddenly bursting with activity as thousands of college kids arrived by the horde and get naked or whatever. Shortly before, an earthquake hits the town and somehow, opened the sub-terranean lake below the Lake Victoria and exposing, for the first time in two million years, a throng of Piranha fishes. Naturally these fishes are violent, hungry and the kids, with their jiggling body under the water was nothing more but a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner buffet to these creatures.
Once the film gets to the near end of its second act, the gore festivities are fired up and they’re quite gross and intense. Well, as far as the mainstream films allowed it to, that is. There are far more grosser films than this one, obviously, but they didn’t see the light of public distribution and only passed around in the hushed tone of secrecy. But this film had enough gross and shock. Body parts are a plenty, mangled meat are everywhere, red paints are used excessively, some ‘executions’ are quite creative, as was expected from Aja, but thankfully, in my opinion, never really ventured much into an over-the-top torture porn category.
The rest of the film is fairly straightforward. The good boy tries to get his girl, the mystery was more or less solved, the fate of its characters are determined, the girls gets their reason to buck naked and to illicit sexy feeling to this film (it worked) and of course, there’s a room for a sequel should the film received well enough to warrant such decision from the producers (it does). I mean, come on, once again, with that kind of premise, a title choice that was purposely wacky and campy, and a cheap-looking movie posters that came with it, what’d you expect? An epic?
My rating: *** / **** The film, quite intentionally, doesn’t take itself very seriously. Nor should you. It was a fun film, aimed to please the fan of shock and gore mainstream monster film. The film knows full well that it tries to accomplishes what B-films are trying to accomplish and as far as the expectation goes, the film worked well. Very well. You don’t like monster exploitation film? Don’t bother to waste your time with this.