Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review - Piranha 3D

The town of Lake Victoria was expecting a dangerous week because Spring Break was under way, but when a earthquake opens a underwater cavern, a whole new level of danger swims into the mix. The towns folk and guest quickly find themselves under a feeding frenzy attack of prehistoric piranha.

The first word that comes to mind when I think about Dimension's latest horror remake/sequel directed by Alexandre Aja is outrageous. Outrageous by its very definition means, "exceeding the limits of what is usual." Another translation of its definition is, "going beyond all standards of what is right or decent." With that in mind, outrageous is the perfect word, because "Piranha 3D" is exactly that.

Alexandre Aja's 'Piranha' keeps the b-rate tone like its predecessors but upscales much of the thrills, effects, violence and nudity to near maximum levels. The horror never holds back in its brutality or nudity and the result is a cheer and jeer inducing experience. An art form that is rarely handled so tolerably. Aja is able to weave numerous ludicrous performances through a connect the dot plot and come out unscathed with a laugh-out-loud bloodbath that is well paced and fantastically intoxicating.

The 3D technology throughout the film is enjoyable enough, however I felt overall it was unnecessary. A good example is the piranha-vision. The technology really did not add the level of depth I would expect looking through the guise of a piranha. Never mind the fact we got very few shots utlizing the piranha-vision while they were actually eating. The effect was only used while the piranha were swimming at their would-be prey. While none of the 3D was jarring or caued dizziness, it just seemed dispensable.

The best thing about 'Piranha' is all of the fabulous effects. Everything from makeup to the practical effects are unblemished. It was such a blessing to see so many practical effects used throughout the horror. Nearly every single limb or body part we see dismembered from all the victims are physical props that were made by hand and not by a computer. Truthfully, I was completely enamored by the practical effects throughout 'Piranha.' I hope more horror films go back to this medium. Where's the fun in making a horror movie, if you don't get a little dirty in the process? The entire special effects and makeup departments did a flawless job. Stuff that is both stomach turning and applaudable.

Even the cgi piranha are a sight to behold. Thankfully so, because if you've seen either of the original Piranha movies, these new carnivores are a superior step in the right direction. That is not to say I don't hold a special place in my heart for Joe Dante's stiff piranha or James Cameron's flying lawn dart piranha, because I do, but with today's technology you expect some realistic piranha. These new cgi devils are fierce and the entire computer department deserve some credit for creating some frightening little fishes'.

Like its originators, "Piranha 3D" subscribes to the ideal of boobs and blood. There is absolutely no shortage of nudity within the 88 minute horror. I love nudity just as much as the next guy (perhaps even girl) but for me 'Piranha' spent just a little too much time staring at tits and not enough dipping them in blood. I know this sounds insane to many of you, how could there ever be too much nudity? The answer is when it takes away from the carnage and bloodshed. There are a couple examples in Aja's film where he spends about 3 minutes too long focusing on nudity and then misses his opportunity to showcase some killing. One is the parasailing scene and the other is the glass bottom boat. Without trying to spoil the movie, both of these scenes miss golden opportunities for a better blend of boobs and blood.

As far as the cast is concerned, I don't have a negative thing to say. All of the performances have quite a bit of camp to them and each of the characters do exactly what they were intended to. The script penned by Peter Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg has a ton of cringe inducing dialogue, but is filled with enough distractions to keep me entertained all the way through. There is one distraction in particular that upstages every Piranha death sequence before it. A massive feeding frenzy, perfectly played out on screen. Just a ton of applaudable brutality. "Piranha 3D" is a refreshing addition to the horror genre. The film doesn't take itself too seriously and unleashes nothing but a thrill filled display of mayhem.