I might as well make it known now that I had very high expectations for "Piranha 3D". What I mean is, I had very high expectations for the low expectations that they move was aiming for. A remake of a campy "Jaws" knock-off as directed by one of the best of the new horror directors, Aja? Count me the fuck in. Unfortunately, despite its promising premise of stupid amounts of extremes, "Piranha 3D" wasn't as great as one could have hoped.
Jake (McQueen) lives with his mother the sheriff (Shue) at Lake Victoria. During Spring Break, this lake is booming with idiotic, horny, and completely wasted youth and its that time of year again. Law enforcement has their hands full. When an odd earth quake seemingly opens up a new cavern below the lake, it unleashes an entire school of prehistoric piranha onto the mass of dumb college kids. This just might cramp Jake's style as he is invited to be the local scout for 'Wild Wild Girls' on the lake. Oh yes, there will be blood in the water.
For those looking for a sweet time watching young beautiful (only half clothed) women and men get slaughtered by fish and various other extreme things, then "Piranha 3D" is going to fit the bill. Aja does it right by focusing in on the campyness of the plot and detailing it out with extreme amounts of gore and nudity (although he may even go too far at times as one fish even gets a hold of Jerry O'Connell's special parts just for the audience to cringe) and for that this film holds its charm. It's a fun movie, if you consider mass death fun that is, and for those looking for an extreme high-budget Grindhouse feel then it hits its marks.
I don't think "Piranha 3D" went far enough though. I know that sounds ridiculous to say considering how much editing this will have to go through to make it onto SyFy in five years, but it doesn't. Most of this has to do with the script. There is almost a serious tone to Jake's character and his predicament with his siblings and by the third act, the film almost forgets that it was supposed to be jokey. This piece of the film never really fits. "Piranha 3D" also happens to go light on the bad dialogue. It has its moments of great, horrible, lines but the rest are played almost too good for what this film should have been.
"Piranha 3D" is a fun and gory watch for those out there looking for it, but it occasionally loses that tone for the sake of making the plot make sense. It would have even been better had the film broken down and really approached more of its side characters (and leads for that matter) in more of an over-the-top and cartoonish way. But alas it doesn't. Making it a relatively fun and campy horror film to recapture summer gory...err...I mean glory days, but it seems to still want to play it safe on some grounds.
BONUS RANT: Ving Rhames is seriously underused in this film. His character could have been a bad ass and fun side note in the film and they rarely use him to his full potential. Every time he was on screen I was expecting to maybe see him start punching fish or go ape shit but we only get one really classic scene and that's it. For shame.
Written By Matt Reifschneider