If you're not a fan of the B-Movie, then it may be sensible for you to follow you enquiry into Piranha 3D no further. This is precisely what Piranha 3D is: a B-Movie that is fully aware of what people expect of it, and fully prepared to deliver the goods. In the process of doing nothing less than meeting (yet not exceeding) these expectations, this 89-minute masterpiece of enjoyable mediocrity delivers a scientifically-questionable storyline involving the marriage of several plot devices - underwater earthquakes and the resulting escape of killer aquatic organisms - with the lifelong partner of gratuitous nudity, Spring Break, and less-than-responsible parenting. The result is a movie that, if you're fully clued up on the merits and failures of the B-Movie genre, will certainly live up to expectations.
Let's get the obvious out of the way here: Piranha 3D is essentially a breasts, buttocks, and blood-fest; a horror movie set at Lake Victoria whose premise and plot are a fraction as deep as the Lake around which the action unfold. Its plot, which is about as far from the tension-filled masterpiece of Jaws as it is possible to be, sees local sheriff and single mother Julie Foster (played by Elisabeth Shue) attempt to make the best of Spring Break season. She puts Jake, her 17-year-old son, in charge of babysitting his younger siblings while she attempts to patrol the hedonism and general debauchery that Spring Break inevitably leads to.
Therein lies a scene set for a number of flies to enter the proverbial ointment, however. These include: an underwater earthquake opening up an expanse on the ocean floor that contains violent and bloodthirsty piranhas into the open water; a seedy porn producer that just happens to be in town to shoot a production in this already-volatile environment; said porn producer enlisting Jake as a sort of ad-hoc location scout for the production. These three plot points are pivotal in setting the scene for the blood and nudity of Piranha 3D to make themselves overwhelmingly apparent in the scenes to come.
The production-in-production references are almost as frequent and gratuitous as the nudity in the film and form a large part of the events that take place within it. A notable scene in which porn producer Jerry O' Connell and his assistant rent a boat to shoot on the open water is typical of the film's style. Cue the interjecting scenes that involve someone tormenting one of the film's titular Piranhas in captivity and the rapid escalation of the action from no-holds-barred nudity-and-hedonism-fest into the horror of the aforementioned plus a bunch of piranhas ripping people to pieces. And yes, there is also a scene that involves a large portion of the water on the screen turning red with blood.
Effects and General Execution
One of the notable failings of many B-Movies such as this come in the form of the special effects used. While the CGI in Piranha 3D is noticeably sub-par, much like the plot of the film it still lives up to the expectations that most would have had of it when paying for the cinema ticket. The piranhas look real enough, and no matter what anyone says, you wouldn't want to be stuck sharing a tank - or indeed shooting a seedy, boobs-and-other-body-parts skin-fest production - within a hundred miles of them.
There are plenty of over-the-top scenes involving the loss of various bodily parts and what one can only assume is a quantity of blood that tips over into the multiple millions of litres. There's also a cracking part where a man grabs a speedboat engine and proceeds to use the rapidly-rotating propeller to eviscerate as many piranhas in the vicinity as possible. This Rambo-of-the-sea scene alone is almost makes the film worth watching.
While Piranha 3D doesn't carry the same budget as modern horror films such as The Visit, and while it doesn't hold the same gravitas as critically-acclaimed films like the Cannes spectacular It Follows, it still fulfils the purpose which itself set out in the first place. This is a silly and stupidly-enjoyable bloody-horror B-Movie with many recognisable actors and some decent effects. Its main appeal is the blood and nudity of course, and this review will close with the teaser of there being an underwater lesbian scene for you to look forward to. Bon appétit.