As you sit and watch this film you have to wonder how much blood would have actually been shed if this were all real. I mean obviously they used plenty of fake blood on set, but there’s also plenty of CGI blood in there too as well I’m sure…it’s just there’s a lot of blood in this movie. And that’s really something I and plenty of other critics loved about this film—I mean how does a 3-D horror film garner a 75% (that’s Fresh, mind you) on Rotten Tomatoes without plenty of B-movie grade love? You have to enjoy the genre already but as long as you do, Piranha will make you smile and grimace all at the same time.
From director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) comes the new action thriller PIRANHA 3D. Every year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, a riot of sun and drunken fun. But this year, there’s something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers; a new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria. After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the areas new razor-toothed residents.
Of course while critics loved it and gave it a 75% rating, audiences give it a 48%…so there’s quite a split there. Though I’m going to guess that a lot of those who hated it based their decision to go see it on RT’s overwhelmingly positive aggregated critics score…but that’s their fault. Me, I already knew from the trailers that this would be a very bloody and very gruesome way to spend a few hours (well, hour and a half) that had some eye candy tacked onto it (both in terms of the scenery as well as the actors and actresses that occupy it).
Yes, the film is about a school of prehistoric piranha that are really quite hungry little buggers and little else. There’s some side story with the human counterparts and people trying to have sex with one another (speaking of which there’s plenty of the requisite horror movie nudity in this one), but the real show starts immediately in the first few minutes with our first causality…which happened to be Richard Dreyfuss. I was kind of confused as to why he would appear in a film so briefly, but then I realized I answered my own question (he did end up donating his hefty salary to charity though, so that’s nice). In any case the hunt is on from then on for missing persons as the body count continues to grow and the piranha count multiples further and further.
Throughout the film there are cameos from other talent like Dina Meyer (a familiar face amongst this kind of film, I think…or at least Starship Troopers, I don’t know what else she was in to be honest) and Christopher Lloyd (I won’t explain myself on that one). Plus there’s the stars like Jerry O’Connell and Elizabeth Shue to make it seem more classy…but they also throw Ving Rhames in, cause you can’t have an overly violent horror movie without him in it, after all.
Truthfully the film is just goofy, gruesome fun. For as much critical success it had, however, I’m moderately surprised that it didn’t make more than it did; the film barely made its budget back domestically, though it made a tidy sum overseas when all is said and done. Still, the film packs in so many classic monster movie elements and ramps them up ten fold, mainly because of the amplitude that blood pours into the ocean whenever these little guys get their teeth on you.
Sadly I didn’t see the film in 3D so I was relegated to this mere 2D DVD edition, but overall it’s still something I’d Recommend to horror film buffs. It’s definitely goofy and tongue in cheek at times, but it has all the desired violence, blood, nudity, and corny dialogue one could hope from a film like this.
Sony releases Piranha to DVD and it arrives in a standard amaray style DVD case without any fancy inserts or anything; the extras are sadly nearly nonexistent on this release, but I’ll get to that in a second. Video for this film looks clean and clear and what you’d expect from a modern production and the DD5.1 audio brings to life the sounds of piranhas tearing apart human flesh with grins on their faces. I truthfully wasn’t sure what that would sound like until I saw this film, but after seeing it I’m pretty sure I’ll always recognize it in the wild now. Plenty of directional play in the speakers as well as some meaty (yes, yes, I’m terrible) LFE output as well.
The commentary was pretty good, but sadly if you want any more extras than that you need to trade up to the Blu-ray edition…though it doesn’t look like there are a whole lot more extras on that one either. Still, it’s a decent disc and worth picking up if you can find it on the used shelf for under $5. Until then it’s worth a Rental.
Piranha is now available on DVD.