Director: Alexandre Aja
Running time: 88 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
UK Release date: 20th August 20110
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 6th August 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember a lot of talk about this one when it came out about a year ago. I was never going to see it in the cinema as I’m no fan of having to pay extra to see something in a format that’s only going to give me a headache (3D in case you hadn’t already guessed). So I waited until it landed on TV (in the correct number of dimensions for the screen). It is billed as a Comedy/Horror, but for some reason I failed to find any comedy in it at all! There was lots of stupidity, but very little comedy that I could see. Now, Horror; if, by Horror, they mean gore, well on that front they succeeded by the gallon! Not to mention the soft-core porn element… I think you can probably guess which way this one’s gonna go, but here’s a brief summary before I tell you what I really think.
After an earth tremor causes a rift to open in the bottom of Lake Victoria (not the one in Africa), a route is made through to a subterranean lake below. This lake has been cut off for millions of years and it contains a deadly variety of piranha that can now enter Lake Victoria. Of course, it’s spring break and the lake is full of college kids ‘havin’ a good time’ of it and the Sheriff, Julie Forester has enough on her plate. Her teenage son, Jake, is supposed to be looking after his little brother and sister, but pays them off so he can go and hang out with his new buddy, Derrick Jones. Derrick produces soft-core porn movies. He has hired Jake as a guide to secluded places on the lake where they can do some filming. Meanwhile, Julie has a major problem once the killer fish are discovered, she has to get everyone out of the water, a task that proves harder than you might think. Cue Jake getting stranded and we’re set up for the grand finale. There are finer details to tell, but I don’t want them Spoiler Police dragging me back into the water just when I think I’m safe.
When this came out I read many reviews praising it, but it turned out to be exactly what I was expecting… Ok, maybe slightly gorier. Despite a poor script, I thought the cast coped quite well; Elisabeth Shue was very professional as Sheriff Julie Forester, but she deserves so much better than this! Jerry O'Connell played the ‘over the top’ film producer with his usual panache and Steven R. McQueen looked suitably young and bewildered as Jake Forester. I guess I should also mention Jessica Szohr as Kelley, Kelly Brook as Danni and Riley Steele as Crystal. And of course the big names that had little to do but add their names to the cast list… Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Boyd, Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon and Christopher Lloyd (still over-acting) as Mr. Goodman.
For those that like their soft-core porn served up with plenty of blood and guts then this is ideal for you. For me, the highlight was the naked underwater swimming scene and after that I kind of lost interest. I didn’t find any characters to identify with and so when various cast members were put in jeopardy, I found it hard to care. I’ve already mentioned that the ‘comedy’ element appears to be missing and that didn’t add to my enjoyment (or otherwise) one bit. The CGI was quite well done, although, because it was made for 3D I did find it a bit ‘in yer face!’ and the incidental music was ok (I won’t give you my opinion on the ‘music’ that was being played in the ‘party’ scenes by the lake). Over all I didn’t find much to enjoy in this one, but it was at least watchable (in parts). I must admit to nearly turning it off about ten minutes from the end as the plot got so predictable I really didn’t want to watch any more… NOT recommended (IMO), but I’m sure there are many out there that will disagree.
My Score: 4.8/10
IMDb Score: 6.0/10 (28,108 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74/100 (112 reviews counted when this review was written).
Official Site: http://piranha-3d.com/