Piranha 3DD Review
History repeats itself, so the saying goes, and ample proof is provided by the resurrected Piranha franchise. In 1978 Joe Dante’s trashy Jaws rip-off delivered the goods but was followed in 1981 by an entirely worthless sequel, which would have been long forgotten were it not for the fact that it happened to be directed by one James Cameron. Then in 2010 Alexandre Aja’s tits ‘n’ gore remake similarly provided robust entertainment, mixing big name cameos with tongue-in-cheek humour amidst some serious carnage, and this has now duly been followed by a worthless sequel of its very own. Ramping up the camp humour along with the size of breasts on display, director John Gulager must surely be praying that his career will now follow a trajectory similar to that of Cameron’s – but from here it’s looking somewhat unlikely.
A year after the attacks on Lake Victoria, the piranha have managed to escape confinement using a network of underground tunnels and have set their sights on an adult-themed water park some miles away. As the park gears up for its opening day, a group of teenage friends led by Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) try to warn the owner Chet (David Koechner) – who also happens to be Maddy’s stepfather - that there’s something fishy going on nearby, but Chet is determined to open the park anyway. After all, he’s booked a very special guest: former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.
And really, the casting of the Hoff sums up Piranha 3DD’s problems. The first film certainly didn’t take itself too seriously, but it delivered the suspense and shocks required of it. After some initial fumbled attempts at making a straight continuation (welcome back Christopher Lloyd), the filmmakers evidently decided to throw caution to the wind and turn the whole thing in to a parody. By the end you’re left wondering if you accidentally stumbled in to a screening of Scary Movie 5. Watching the mess unfold onscreen is such a baffling experience one is left simply shaking one’s head, wondering what on earth was going through their minds.
On a purely technical level Piranha 3DD frequently flirts with incompetence. The 3D is dreadfully murky, and resorts to the usual assorted items tumbling out of the screen. Despite being allegedly filmed in 3D, the results are so shoddy the film is barely watchable. The performances from the younger members of the cast are just as dismal. The script is appallingly bad, even for a genre that frequently dabbles in the truly wretched. Remember the severed penis from the first film? Well, there’s plenty more where that came from. Even the deaths are pretty boring.
Unforgivably, the grand finale, which really must give the audience what it paid its money for, is a (forgive the pun) damp squib. The carnage of the first film is replaced here with a few bloody wounds, the odd severed limb and (most traumatically) a slow-motion shot of the Hoff running in his Baywatch outfit, his sagging man-boobs bouncing around. And this shot seems to go on FOREVER. It might conceivably be funny for those Baywatch fans that still exist out there, but for the rest of the world the silence is deafening. Forget the other cameos from Lloyd, Gary Busey (completely wasted) and part one survivor Ving Rhames, this is Hasselhoff’s show. He gets to sing, run, and continually poke fun at his past. It’s as if they threw the script out when he arrived on set and just decided to make stuff up and shoot it.
Having endured the film’s admittedly brief running time (though it feels far longer), the filmmakers then have the audacity to drag the end credits out for as long as humanly possible. Hasselhoff dominates again, featuring in a handful of unfunny out-takes and an even worse jokey title sequence for a fake TV show starring the big guy. The whole sequence feels a bit like a kid that accidentally did a poo on the carpet and, pleased with its effort, is desperate to show it off. In cinema terms, Piranha 3DD is simply a class one turd.