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PIRANHA 3-D (2010) ****

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; may I have your attention please.  There is a new Numero Uno.  Yes, better than Busty Cops Go Hawaiian.  Yes, better than The Expendables.  Yes, even better than Kick-Ass.  Piranha 3-D has unseated them all as the Best Film of 2010.  Sure, there is still four months to go until the year is over, but the competition will be hard pressed to top this one.


I’m usually the first one to cry foul whenever Hollywood remakes a horror classic but I have to tell you that I always secretly hope that the remake will be better than the original.  Sure, most times you wind up with pieces of crap like the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.  Sometimes though, you get a remake that surpasses the original in every respect.  Last year, My Bloody Valentine 3-D did it.  This year, it’s Piranha 3-D.


(Okay, I highly suggest that if you haven’t seen the movie yet… stop reading this and run out and do so!  I don’t want to spoil a single surprise.  If on the other hand you have seen the flick, then continue reading on with your bad self…)


There is a couple ways that Piranha 3-D improves on the original.  First, the piranhas themselves are of a prehistoric nature and not the government bred beasties of the first film.  That aspect of the original always seemed corny to me, so this was a good change.  Secondly, the campy humor works a bit better here than in the original.  Director Alexandre Aja (no stranger to remakes after The Hills Have Eyes) knows what we want to see in 3-D; namely boobs and gore and he delivers that in spades.  And the third reason the film works better than the original; fittingly enough is the 3-D itself.  Aja is smart enough to know that 3-D is best used when filmmakers embrace the gimmicky nature of the technology.  Unlike some high profile directors (like Piranha 2:  The Spawning’s James Cameron for example), Aja knows that in order for the 3-D to work, you’ve got to perpetually belt the audience’s eyeballs with stuff.  Take a look at this 3-D rap sheet.  We have:   


  • 3-D Sign
  • 3-D Beer Bottle
  • 3-D Piranhas
  • 3-D Hand
  • 3-D Slurpee Cup
  • 3-D Boobs
  • 3-D Naked Underwater Ballet
  • 3-D Diving
  • 3-D Piranha Egg
  • 3-D Eyeball
  • 3-D Anchor
  • 3-D Puking
  • 3-D Outboard Motor
  • 3-D Piranha Guts
  • 3-D Naked Parasailing
  • 3-D Piranha Erupting Out of Somebody’s Mouth
  • 3-D Floating Severed Penis
  • 3-D Piranha Biting a Severed Penis
  • 3-D Piranhas Fighting Over a Severed Penis
  • 3-D Piranha Eating a Severed Penis
  • 3-D Piranha Regurgitating a Severed Penis
  • 3-D Oar… I’m sorry but somewhere after 3-D Piranha Regurgitating a Severed Penis my brain stopped cataloging all the things being hurtled at the screen.  Maybe some day when the film hits Blu-Ray and I have my laptop in front of me, I will be adequately able to tell you all the stuff that comes flying out at the screen.  Until then, just see it for yourself.


Then there’s the gore.  Good golly Ms. Molly there is some fucked up shit in this movie.  Not only do you get severed penises and other appendages being gnawed off, but whole bodies are hacked in half, heads get squashed, legs get chewed to the bone, and people have their flesh reduced to something that looks suspiciously a lot like Hamburger Helper.  Aja works with gore the way Monet did with paint and Mozart with music.  He gives us the crowd pleasing laugh out loud moments (like the penis scene) but then he’ll give us something really cruel and disgusting that just makes you cringe and yell “Damn!”  Like the scene where one prick bastard is fleeing the piranha in his motorboat and his engine chews through a gaggle of dying teenagers.  Then the propeller stops when it gets ensnared in one girl’s long hair.  The dude doesn’t stop to help her though.  He starts that engine back up and when he does, the propeller pulls her scalp and face clean off.  Then the camera sorta lingers on her pain and suffering for a bit.


That’s only a small sample of the carnage Aja unleashes during the centerpiece piranha attack.  This thing is like the D-Day Invasion scene from Saving Private Ryan, except instead of soldiers and bullets; it’s got chicks in bikinis and piranhas.  We’re talking some serious Barf-O-Rama type stuff here.


And what would a movie be without it’s cast?  Not only do we have Elizabeth Shue playing one heck of a foxy MILF sheriff, but we’ve got Ving Rhames as her deputy, Richard Dreyfuss reprising his role from Jaws (seriously if you don’t smile the instant you see him on screen; you’re don’t belong in my movie dojo), Jerry O’Connell as the Girls Gone Wild wannabe guy, and Christopher Lloyd as the exposition spouting pet store owner that just so happens to have a handy piranha fossil in his office for explanation purposes.  Seriously, nobody in the business gives exposition like Christopher Lloyd.  He chews up the scenery the way the piranha chew up flesh. 


In short:  Modern Classic.  I’m tempted to say it’s the Best Remake since The Fly.  That’s a bold statement I know.  I have to wait until I give it a second viewing to see how it holds up before I rush to any major judgment.  It’s still a thing of beauty though.  Any movie that combines naked lesbians swimming around making out with each other mere inches away from your eyeballs AND 3-D penis puking piranhas has got to be considered a classic.


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