Piranha 3D

Director    Alexandre Aja
Starring    Steven R McQueen, Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Richard Dreyfuss, Kelly Brook, Riley Steele
Release    20 AUG (US) 20 AUG (UK)    Certificate 18
3 stars

Christopher Ratcliff

25th August 2010

Piranha 3D is a film that truly wears its commercialism on its sleeve. Not like Transformers or GI Joe, which despite having the snigger-inducing opening credit 'Based on a Hasbro toy', still pretend to be legitimate filmmaking enterprises rather than lavishly expensive adverts by hiding within multiple layers of confusing narrative and unearned pathos. Not Piranha 3D though. Oh no.

Piranha 3D doesn't have time for pretentiousness. Piranha 3D doesn't care for such Hollywood gimmicks like story and characterisation. Piranha 3D knows what sells tickets, and Piranha 3D delivers in gore-splattered, boob-shaped spades of grue and matter. And oh Christ, does it deliver. In watching of Piranha 3D, you will truly know the meaning of the word 'fodder'.

Set on Lake Victoria, a notorious Spring Break hotspot (if you're unaware of the importance of Spring Break to the psyche of American youth then you clearly have a proper job and watch very little daytime MTV, congratulations), it is here that we are the shameful witnesses to the slaughter of hundreds upon hundreds of (sometimes) bikini'd teenage girls, and ham-headed jocks with hundred percent date-rape potential. (A jock is an American sporty man.)

[gallery]In every conceivable way there is death. In an overly populated, tiny bay, that swiftly turns into a vicious feeding pool, hundreds of these gormless douchebags (another common American parlance, I hear) are bait to millions of newly-unearthed (there was an earthquake, don't ask), prehistoric (again, don't ask), super-ugly, super-hungry, bitey killers. In any possible outcome that involves the mathematical equation 'Moron x 10,000 + piranhas + water + electrical equipment + booze + speedboats', there is all death, any death, all the time, all day long.

Everything you could imagine happening involving any of the above hypotheses happens here. In fact half the extraordinarily stomach-turning deaths aren't even caused by the fucking fish. Piranha 3D is exactly like the first thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan, only it's longer, a bit funnier and has fecking great big killer Nemos instead of Nazis.

Death, death, death, death, death, death, death.'And tits.'So many tits.'Tits and killing. That's all there is. If you asked a fifteen year-old boy what their ideal film would be, this would be it. Plot? Nah, you won't care. There is one, but who gives a flying hellfish.

Piranha 3D is also the only film in existence to prefigure its final twist with the unlikely line, "The piranha's sexual organs have yet to mature." Nobody is taking this film seriously, not the actors, not the filmmakers, not even the boy behind the concession stand when I asked for "One ticket to see Piranha 3D, back-row please!" But in the end, all this sardonic glee is its greatest strength.

It's refreshingly nihilistic, almost courageous in its extremeness and utterly unrelenting; never once dropping its guard or sense of absurdity. It also has a unapologetically high nostalgia factor, not just in its setting and the blatant harking back to a video-nasty era of eighties filmmaking, but it's also home to a bizarrely-placed Back To The Future reunion between Elisabeth Shue and Christopher Lloyd.

And then there's Richard Dreyfuss.'There's actually a heart warming story about why the rarely seen Dreyfuss agreed to make his fleeting cameo appearance as the first victim to the titular toothy bastards; it's because Bob Weinstein offered him a ton of money. Oh.

Piranha 3D may be sticking its toe in the sleazy end of the feeding pool, but it does manage to bait and drown a few deserving victims along with it. Particularly the oily, smut merchant Joe Francis, producer of the Girls Gone Wild franchise of grumble videos. Jerry O'Connell plays the professional scumbag with acute loathing, and you can see how much he and the filmmakers enjoy punishing this vile exploiter of the young and self-esteem-less throughout the course of the film, right up until (ineffectual spoiler alert) he gets killed by some fish. And for that end alone, this is an oddly admirable film.

To conclude, Piranha 3D is an efficient, grotesque and heavily streamlined little fright machine that although you should respect, you probably shouldn't go anywhere near.'Wait, that's just like the piranhas in the movie themselves. HA HA, YES! I am excellent at writing film reviews!!!* '

*Please ignore the fact that, in spite of having the whole of the internet to hand, I didn't bother to find out whether the plural for piranha is in fact piranha or piranhas. I frequently used both in this review**.

**It should also be noted that although I frequently wrote the term 3D in this review, what with it being in the title and all, I didn't actually once talk about the 3D. The 3D was shit. END OF REVIEW!'

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