After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents.
Its been a long time coming, but the gloriously named PIRANHA 3DD is finally set to hit cinema's in the coming weeks, so the time seems right to have a look back at the first film. A remake that manages to be among the most mindlessly enjoyable mainstream Horror experiences in too many years to count.
PIRANHA is the definition of a divisive film. As a warm blooded man/pervert, and a card carrying lover of all things 'cheesy monster movie'. I was on board for this sumbitch from day one. The original was great fun in its own right, but with SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES director, Aja, at the helm, this was always gonna be a step up from what had come before. His remake of HILLS was, for my dollar, a far more visceral experience than Wes Craven's original, and the idea of this guy cutting loose with some man-eating fish was pretty fucking tantalizing. That said, it still proved to be surprisingly great fun.
Its a shameless, exploitation movie, drenched in sleaze and coated in Hollywood sheen. It looks like a million bucks, yet plays like the degenerate wet dream of a horny adolescent. In short, its exactly what it has to be. A blood soaked, tits and teeth epic with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and for those in the right mindset, a hilarious zany trip down memory lane.
The film sets in tongue firmly in cheek from the opening scene, wherein we witness the fate of Richard Dreyfuss' much loved character 'Hooper' from JAWS. He's apparently given up shark studying, (understandable really), for the more gentle pastime of fly-fishing, but one tectonic tremor later and he's facing an even more vicious fishy threat. Its almost sad to see the great man taken down by these little hungry bastards, but damn, does it put a smile on your face. From this brilliant opening, your left in no doubt that this isn't gonna be JOHN CARPENTERS THE THING. Shit, its not even gonna be THE RELIC. This is down-home, brutal, funny, escapist nonsense for the willfully puerile among us. Praise be.
I cant talk about PIRANHA without mentioning the wealth of T&A on display here. The films first half plays like the most well shot soft core porno ever made. The films practically packed with lithe ladies and six-pack sporting gents. The booby action culminates in a frankly unforgettable underwater lesbian scene that goes on way longer than it has any damn need to, (or so your girlfriend will argue), and features both the full-frontal 'talents' of Kelly Brook and hardcore porn star, Riley Steele. This right here, is awesome. Those looking for a titillating time will find it here, but to be honest, its mostly just really fucking funny. You can picture the boyish glee Aja must have felt filming this shit, knowing it was headed for the big screen. You gotta admire that level of brazen immaturity. I know I do.
Rest assured, those among you, who only came for the guts 'n; gore, that while the first half is heavy on boobs and butt-cracks, there are still a number of grisly death scenes to punctuate the silliness until we reach the godlike second half. The kills are equal parts humorous and grotesque, and keep the pace up nicely until the films truly classic moment....the party scene.
When the killer sardines hit that summer lake party, Aja goes into full throttle lunacy mode, and bombards the viewer with a constant stream of wildly violent deaths, blood drenched visuals and dementedly over the top action. I wont give away any of the kills here, (Ive watched five times and still haven't seen them all, I'm sure), but they are wondrous. I should say, for those of you who bemoan Eli Roth, director of the first two HOSTEL movies, you'll be well pleased by his demise.
Performance wise, the teens are all good looking and manage to make you care for them a little, by simply not being total fucking assholes' Elisabeth Shue is as hot and as hearty as ever as the small town cop trying to deal with the razor-toothed beasties, and PULP FICTION legend Ving Rhames is as effortlessly bad-ass as ever. As good as all these cats are, the real stand out is Jerry O'Connell, of STAND BY ME and SCREAM 2 fame, as the porn star director who hires a boat on the ill-fated lake to create his latest masterpiece. He's just brilliant here, and steals every scene with his coked-up wild eyed performance. He also has the best death scene in the movie, (the aftermath of which is even more hilarious). Christopher Lloyd pops up as a mad scientist for five seconds, and makes for a great, grin inducing cameo too.
PIRANHA is a teenage delinquent asshole of a movie. Immature, horny, drunk as shit and coked up beyond all repair. Its violent, grin-some, filled with fucked up fish and busting at the bikini with lesbians, love-buns and lunacy. What more do you want from a giant killer-fish movie?
8 Fish Suppers out of 10