It's been over a week since I regrettably rented Piranha 3DD On-Demand and I still can't shake it.
I think I was one of, like, 2,000 people in the Universe who was kind of stoked for a sequel of the 2010 creature feature Piranha 3D. That movie was special for many reasons; Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, the torso of a porn star being eaten off and the legendary "Jerry O'Connell gets his dick chewed off" scene. It sucked, but it sucked with dignity and self-awareness. It sucked so hard that it was actually pretty good, in some bizarre, reverse osmosis way.
You know that overused adage that goes something along the lines of "To say this movie was ____ would be an insult to ____?" Well, to say Piranha 3DD was worse than dog shit stuck to the bottom of your shoe would be an insult to dog shit stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
You would think that a movie openly referring to large breasts in the title would have an off-chance that it could actually be good -- especially since it was directed by John Gulager, the winner of season three of Project Greenlight and mastermind behind the fun Feast trilogy. Clocking in at 70 minutes (and sustained post-movie goofs), the movie begins with dead a cow farting out a horde of fish, which causes Gary Busey to exclaim: "Holy flying baby shit!"
That is the apex of Piranha 3DD.
Instead of setting it at a lake during spring break again, the only logical step would for it to take place at a water park. But get this; it's no ordinary water park! There's a special section for adult's only that features a "Cooch Cam" and a metric ton of silicone floating like buoys lost at sea. There are little arcs involving the shady park owner, a dumb 20-something love triangle, Christopher Lloyd spouting scientific jargon and an extended cameo from David Hasselhoff. But really, who cares?
Piranha 3D knew its place. It was a cheesefest buried at the end of August. It was meta. It had Richard freaking Dreyfuss. I never would have thought I would be reflexively looking back on that movie with fondness. Piranha 3DD makes no attempt to recapture that Snakes on a Plane-esque feel. It devolves into a clichéd caricature of its predecessor. It looks cheap. It has C-listers and unknowns in lead roles. It has a Baywatch spoof -- a show that has been off the air for over a decade.
While the original had elements of satire and self-parody, the sequel plays like the wet dream of a really horny 12-year-old boy. An actual line from the movie is "Josh cut his penis off because something came out of my vagina."
With an estimated $20 million budget, I'm perplexed as to where all that money went. Was it solely for the conversion to the third dimension? The terrible CGI? The Hasselhoff cameo? Even shitty SyFy flicks like Dinocroc Vs. Supergator and the recent Jersey Shore Shark Attack had better production value. Dumped in 86 theaters, the movie has made only $339,000. In comparison, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom has slowly rolled out to 96 theaters and has made more than $4 million.
This is the thing that really pissed me off -- when I think water park; I'm thinking Noah's Ark or Hurricane Harbor. The water park in this movie looks like one found in a lower middle-class suburb that you never go to because the whole town congregates there and everyone pisses in the water. There's like one, maybe two, slides and a lazy river that probably goes for a couple hundred feet. This is an actual map of Jungle Rapids in North Carolina, where some of the scenes were filmed. I could definitely get down there.
Piranha 3DD's aquatic backdrop is a bland, tepid, cesspool of venereal diseases that no amount of chlorine in the world could clean.
Call me a purist, but if your whole climax is hinging on a gory bloodbath at a water park, make it believable! Never mind those prehistoric mutant fish or Ving Rhames having guns for legs - rent out Blizzard Beach for a week.
On a side note, Paul Scheer of The League reprises his role here of Andrew for some godforsaken reason (paycheck). The comedian co-hosts a podcast called How Did This Get Made? where he makes fun of stupid movies like Speed 2: Cruise Control and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
Piranha 3DD should be his next entry, because seriously, how in the hell did this get made?
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