Sunday, August 29, 2010

Piranha 3D

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.


Rob said...

eli roth's head explodes? Now I might have to check it out.

Spooky Pie said...

Hey! I love your blog so much I gave it an award!
Get it over here at: This girl Digs Horror

Matt Keeley said...

Initially I thought this was going to be 2010's answer to Snakes on a Plane, but Snakes was so good-natured and innocuous. A movie with a title as kitschy as "Piranha 3D" should appeal to camp and irony and fun, not sadism and sleaze. I don't see myself *enjoying* this movie, and that's kind of a shame.

cole roulain said...

almost went to see this after work this evening. glad i didn't.

p.s. are you going to make it to austin for fantastic fest?

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Rob: Explodes is a mild term for what happens to Eli Roth's head...

@ Spooky Pie: Aww... many thanks Spooks.

@ Matt: Yeah, its really weird its like the tone only misses it by "that" much, but what a difference it makes.

@ cole: I wouldn't discourage anyone from going point blank. Its the type of movie I think would work for some people just not me.

I don't know if I'll make Fantastic Fest, I only get out to Austin about once a year, and I want to try and make BNAT again...

That being said, I'm considering making Austin and me friends on a more permenant basis. Nothings written in stone but come November or January you might find yourself with a new neighbor.

Cause God knows Austin doesn't have enough film writers....