I am going to go right off and say it, this film was a blast, no 3-D needed! I am so glad I didn’t see this in 3-D and I went for the 2-D version, it really didn’t need it to start off with and I honestly didn’t need the headache. Unless a film was actually filmed for 3-D using that technology (you know like Avatar), I could hardly careless to see how awful it looks after a post conversion. With that bit out of the way, I shall tell you a little about what this film is about and why I had such a great time with it. So we start off our film off on a lake (well it looked like one) and some kind of under water tremor has unleashed some nasty and very hungry piranha fish. This event decided to happen on one of the busiest weeks for the town of Lake Victoria, as thousands of teens and young adults have come for Spring Break. The town Sheriff (Elizabeth Shue) has already found one body, and scientists (the main one played by Adam Scott) have come to investigate the tremor. Meanwhile Jake (Steven R. McQueen) and his friend Kelly (Jessica Szohr) agree to go on board a boat with Derrick (An hilarious Jerry O’Connell) who hosts a Girls Gone Wild type show. Jake also happens to be the Sheriff’s son, and in sneaky fashion leaves his younger siblings at home, who decide to take a row boat out and get stranded. Everything comes together to bring a lot of mayhem, with so much trouble happening already, the piranha’s are ready to unleash their fury.
So there actually is a bit of a story going on with this film, it did remind me a bit of Jaws (the original Piranha film came out a year after Jaws and I haven’t seen it to compare notes). They actually went to the trouble of coming up with something interesting with the piranha’s, having them living under the surfaces for millions of years until something sets them free. As we find out from a fish expert Dr. Goodman (Christopher Llyod), these piranha’s have survived by feeding off each other, but now they are free they are out seeking blood. I bought what they were going for, and it added some cool scenes to the film. We have different characters, all in different situations, perhaps there were a few too many, so it wasn’t easy to really get attached to anyone. But they did have some colourful characters, mainly that of Derrick, who was easily the most memorable but not at all likable. This film is certainly a throw back to horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, throwing in a lot of skin and then unleashing blood, and lots of it. The first half nicely sets up the second half, getting our characters into peril, having the audience get comfortable by showing all of that skin, and then when the piranha’s really attack it is all very nasty!
Performance wise, everyone actually does a pretty decent job given the type of film they are in. Elizabeth Shue was great as the no bs, tough as nails Sheriff as well as loyal and loving mother. I liked her straight away, which is pretty easy to do because she always shines in everything she is in. Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy from Vampire Diaries) was really good as Jake, a typical teenager, just wanting to have fun and leave his responsibilities behind. I did like him, and he was probably the character we got to know the most as well. Other supporting players like Kelly Brook as one of the Wild Girls actually turned out to be pretty good, which was surprising as she was clearly there to show off her chesticles. Adam Scott was charming as Novak, coming in to investigate the tremor and then coming to the aid of those under attack by the piranha’s. Jerry O’Connell was hilarious, I really believed his performance! What a riot he was, and when things get bad, you really want to see it happen to him. There’s a funny cameo by Richard Dreyfus, playing a character that was basically a play off his Jaws character. Ving Rhame’s was his usual self, he makes an impact and that was about it, too bad he wasn’t in it more. Jessica Szohr (Vanessa from Gossip Girl) was actually alright, she could have been annoying but I found she actually wasn’t, considering the amount of screaming she ended up doing. Christopher Lloyd was well himself, he showed up for what he needed to and it was a lot of fun. The kids were also pretty good, even if the characters they played should have known better.
The downside to this was that it was a bit too over the top, I did enjoy it but even I have my limits. The gore effects were mostly really well done, some looked really fake which didn’t bode too well. Some characters just became too stupid for their own good, and it was kind of annoying. That aside, besides the piranha attacks, there were some great and inventive kills (Watch out for Eli Roth’s demise), which I found surprising. In the situation they were put in, piranha’s weren’t the only thing that became a danger, which was actually quite believable, even if the execution became over the top. There were some silly gags (one involving a penis) which just didn’t fit in entirely with the film, but I still did laugh. The cgi of the piranha’s was mostly pretty good, they looked like some mean sons of bitches I have to say. Sometimes the cgi was a bit off, but mostly it worked pretty well. Some stuff was clearly added for the 3-D conversion which looked off in 2-D but as I said I would much rather the 2-D (at least it wasn’t Jaws 3-D bad). Piranha was probably a film that was fit for a remake, now that I have seen the remake I will have to check out the original and see how they compare and differ. This film gave me everything I wanted, and I had a lot of fun. This is one film to just sit and relax to and enjoy the ride, don’t take it seriously and have a laugh. Alexandre Aja has come along way since I first saw his work with Haute Tension, and this is very different, however I think he managed to mix horror and comedy really well, which isn’t always an easy task. I eagerly await the sequel which was definitely teased at with the way the film ended (loved that too).
Piranha (2010) was part of my Horror Films For October, you can find the entire list here.