Following the honest carnage and thrills of Switchblade Romance (2003) and the enjoyably nasty but thematically over-explicit remake of The Hills Have Eyes (2006) (much lacking the relative subtlety of the original), Alexandre Aja – much like Rob Zombie did with his 2007 Halloween remake – proves himself more of a ‘grindhouse’ director than Quentin Tarantino did with Death Proof (2007), giving us the naked, fluid-splattered amusement of Piranha 3D (2010).
The plot is simple – thousands of teens flock to the beaches for Spring Break, flesh-hungry prehistoric piranhas eat teens. Thrown in for good/ironic measure are Kelly Brook’s breasts, chauvinist coke-snorting porn producers, Christopher Lloyd as a film-stealing crazed scientist, and more blood than any other film this year.
There’s an hour of pacey build-up towards 25 minutes of non-stop brutality, beginning with the long-awaited and extended slaughter of hundreds of plastic teenagers. There are also moments of amusing invention (at one point, a girl’s hair is pulled off by a boat’s propeller, taking her face with it) harking back to the brilliant blow job gag in Switchblade Romance. Further gore is plentiful and fantastically hyper-realist throughout, more vicious at times than a mainstream crowd would perhaps anticipate.
Ving Rhames and Elisabeth Shue are more than welcome in any film of this ilk and try their best with an intentionally ludicrous script, yet it would also be unfair to call the entire film stupid, as several jokes hint at an intelligence more than most would expect from a film called Piranha 3D, co-starring both Kelly Brook and three-dimensional vomit.
Piranha’s 3D element will obviously be lost to all but the three 3D TV owning individuals out there at the current time, which is not really an issue considering how bad some of it looked theatrically. Whilst the loss of a supposed ‘extra dimension’ perhaps takes something away from the film’s simple-minded aim to thrill, Piranha 3D is still worth a watch – enjoy it for 85 minutes and then forgot about it.