Piranha 3D takes place in what I can only take as a literal Fratboy heaven. A douchebag Valhalla wherein every righteous bro is rewarded with mandals, a poker visor or backwards baseball cap, and bitchin tribal pec tat. And every rocking bitch is free to totally off dem boobs and bitching tribal tramp stamp. Every grill is smoking, the natty light and blunts flow freely, and auto tune pumps off of every available speaker, or at least every one not currently engaged by The Dave Matthew’s Band. It hits such a critical mass of douche baggery that it eventually just turns hypnotic.
Piranha 3D is either the most openly venal film ever made, or it’s a blistering Bunuelian commentary on the crassness of American lust and conspicuous consumption. I don’t know if I will ever be entirely sure of which.
Piranha 3D hums along on that same “I’m not sure whether or not he’s fucking with us.” Vibe. This is a movie with everything, a cute little girl with whom to play “Will they or won’t they feed her to the Piranha’s?” Boobs in 3D, Eli Roth’s exploding head and a Penis being eaten in 3D.
The film follows Sheriff Elizabeth Shue (“You know from Dreamer, the fucking horse movie!”) and Deputy Ving Rhames as they tries to clear Fratboy Valhalla before a pack of murderous prehistoric Piranhas can turn them into mulch. Meanwhile her children end up on the sinking boat of sociopath coked out pornographer, Jerry O’Connell (long story) and then Eli Roth gets decapitated doing what I think his detractors just assume he does every day.
I can’t quite recommend Piranha 3D with the same gusto that many of my blogger brethren have. For one thing its 3D has that cheap diorama look that I get with every 3D system that’s not Disney’s. The lack of light as a result of the 3D process also ends up being a big issue. This is not exactly surprising given that it take place underwater where its tough enough to coherently show action. A few of the attacks are downright incomprehensible. Most problematic those that are clear are powered by a real ugly sense of sadism and cruelty, a hallmark of Aja’s that clashes with the fun tone. For every OOT shot of O’Connell having his penis bit in half there’s a strangely lovingly depicted one of a woman getting her scalp and half her face torn off by a boat propeller.
Still I can understand why Piranha 3D is getting the response its getting. Its rare enough to see a horror film nowadays whose automatic setting is not “dour”. Its got blood, its got boobs, it has some truly trashy 3D, and Christopher Lloyd screaming about Fish Genitals (not a typo). In short it promises a lurid unseemly time at the movies and it more then delivers on that account.
The problem is. I can’t tell if Piranha 3D is the most dishonest film I’ve seen this year or the most honest one. Or indeed, which answer I would prefer.