Piranha 3DD (2012)

Cover art:

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Piranha 3DDStarring Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Matt Bush, Katrina Bowden, David Hasselhoff, Christopher Lloyd, Paul Scheer, Ving Rhames, Gary Busey, Clu Gulager

Directed by John Gulager


The killer fish are back on the hunt in John Gulager’s wickedly fun 80’s-infused sequel Piranha 3DD, and this time a group of water park enthusiasts (and David Hasselhoff as himself) are on the menu.

Piranha 3DD follows a young (almost too young) marine biologist named Maddy, (Danielle Panabaker) who returns home to find that her shady stepfather, Chet (the always hilarious David Koechner), has transformed the family water park into a more ‘adult’-like attraction called Big Wet, complete with wet t-shirt contests, a topless (and bottomless pool) and stripper lifeguards.

Unfortunately for Maddy, Chet and everyone that happens to be in attendance at Big Wet’s reopening celebration, the park just so happens to be located upstream from the now infamous Lake Victoria featured in Piranha 3D; and soon enough the clever and flesh-hungry man-eaters manage to work their way into the park’s water supply, and the results aren’t pretty. Hilarious, but certainly not pretty.

The sequel sees resident genre madman Gulager (the Feast trilogy) at the helm of his biggest budgeted outing to date, and with his lighthearted and hilarious approach, he proves that he was absolutely the right choice to tackle Piranha 3DD, delivering a follow-up that actually manages to surpass its predecessor in a lot of different ways.

The biggest improvement made was that Gulager smartly chose to shoot Piranha 3DD in 3D instead of post-converting, and the difference shows. Piranha 3D had a blurry and shadowed look throughout (especially in the underwater scenes), but this second flick is crisp, clear and the 3D looks pretty stellar all around.

In terms of script duties, horror’s dynamic duo of writing – Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan – have once again knocked it out of the park with their script for Piranha 3DD; their story doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, but the humor plays better this time around, the characters feel a bit more developed than they did in Piranha 3D and the pair managed to write a decent part for Christopher Lloyd in the sequel, making him more of a lovable madman than the wacky nutjob we saw back in 2010.

Speaking of performances, Koechner (who is a personal favorite of this writer) makes for a sublime douchebag in Piranha 3DD and certainly gets to have a lot more fun here than the last time genre fans saw him in Final Destination 5. Panabaker is likable as the film’s heroine but gets upstaged by the stunning and hilarious Katrina Bowden (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), who delivers what may be THE greatest line of cinematic dialogue in the last ten years or so.

Hasselhoff pretty much reigns supreme over the performances in Piranha 3DD and rightly so; it’s very rare to see a part written for an actor that is this self-deprecating but still manages to come off as an homage at the same time. The Hoff also gets to show off his world-famous set of lungs in the “Fish Hunter/Love Hunter” songs that Gulager specifically wrote for the actor, which are both playful and giggle-inducing.

Returning players Paul Scheer and Ving Rhames show up for some water park carnage, and their moments play pretty great as well (seeing how Rhames sans legs deals with a piranha attack is almost worth the price of admission alone), giving fans of Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D even more to look forward to in this sequel.

Of course, the two biggest reasons that most fans of the Piranha flicks show up in the theater are the boobs and the blood, and there is certainly plenty of both to be found in the sequel; actually, the amount of full-on nudity Gulager manages to work into the film without ever coming across as pornographic feeling is truly a remarkable feat, but that’s mostly due to the 80’s comedy vibe Gulager keeps simmering throughout the story. There’s definitely a horndog kind of feel to quite a few moments we see at Big Wet, but they never traverse fully into smut territory, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

There’s definitely less gore in Piranha 3DD than there was in the first flick, but what that really means is that instead of 5,000 dead bodies floating around, now there are only about 2,500. Complaining about the gore here is truly splitting hairs- would it have been great to have more? Sure. But what we do get in Piranha 3DD is still spectacularly bloody and gory and should keep you gorehounds out there pleased as punch.

As a whole Piranha 3DD is a ridiculous amount of fun that feels like Gulager was making his own horror-fied version of comedy classics like Porky’s, Revenge of the Nerds or Meatballs. Sure, the story is pretty standard, but who cares? Gulager’s enthusiasm as well as an incredibly likable cast and a script that smartly plays up more humor than horror (it’s killer piranha attacking people inside a water park; it should be fun!) makes for an entertaining experience that also manages to outshine its predecessor in almost every way.

The flick is hitting theaters and VOD on June 1st, but Piranha 3DD is absolutely meant to be a big screen experience; the 3D actually adds something to the look of the movie this time around instead of hindering it (and yes, guys, the boobs are even boobier in the sequel, too!) and with Gulager keeping the overall feel delightfully campy, Piranha 3DD could very well be the most fun genre fans will have at the multiplex this summer.

4 out of 5

Discuss Piranha 3DD in the comments section below.

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  • Tshoffie

    Wow words cant explain how shitty this movie is…just like the Aja version this is packed with everything that makes horror films look immature and stupid..nudity and sex simply for the sake of it…horrendous acting really lousy cgi bloodshed. the only couple of things that i found somewhat ok in this film was Gary buseys brief appearence and David Hasslehoff was kinda funny…other then that i thought this film was crap and im guessing it didnt make it to more theatres because people knew it was gonna suck…And whats with another scene similiar to the one in Ajas film with a guys penis…im wondering are these Directors trying to compensate for something here?

    • Vanvance1

      Immature? Sorry, I don’t understand that argument in light of the film you’re commenting on. Were you looking for a sophisticated, multi-layered strongly thematic Pirahna film? One that explores important themse like what it means to be human… or perhaps the unceasing battle between man and nature as epitomized by fish with big teeth?

      I really don’t think you understand the director’s goal here: Make a FUN movie.

      P.S. What’s truly immature is how Western society reacts to natural things like sex and nudity. Perhaps this film is a commentary on our overreaction to these matters? There ya go, a theme.

      • Terminal

        Vanvance not everything is a political issue about right wingers and left wingers. Geez. The director’s goal might have been to make a fun movie, but Piranha 3DD wasn’t a fun movie. It was an all around shitty ass horrible movie that failed to live up to the fun factor of Aja’s movie.

        • Vanvance1

          I thought it was fun and as good (if not as slick) as Aja’s movie.

          I’m even going to add it to my blu collection.

  • theGoldenSimatar

    I freaking loved this movie.

  • Vanvance1

    The dialogue is often jaw droppingly bad.

    The f/x need a lot of work.

    Some of the edits seem very awkward.

    Having said all that I’m still giving this flick 3.5 knives because it ditches most of the usual filler in these films and has a lot of entertaining moments. I wish it had a better flow, but it still made me smile.

  • Terminal

    Four knives? This got four knives? Are the DC writers passing around shrooms lately or something?

  • Masked Slasher

    Terrible film. Just awful.

    The humor feels forced and falls flat. There’s zero sense of suspense (as opposed to the climactic setpiece at the end of the original with the sinking boat) and, worst of all, Gulager and his editor completely fail at lending the water park bloodbath any real flow. It just feels like a bunch of scenes strewn together and they’re not particularly fun or interesting.

    What little violence/gore there is is unsatisfying and the characters aren’t given ANY sort of likability.

    Easily among the worst horror flicks of the year.

  • Uncle Creepy

    I liked it but it was nowhere near as good as the first. There’s way more boobs than there is blood, and I cannot help but be disappointed by that. The Hoff totally steals the show. For my money it’s a three. One step above the usual direct to video fare.

  • nonserviam03

    Man, this movie REALLY disappointed me. The gore is incredibly toned-done, the movie plays up the comedy to an annoying degree, and the script is just kind of a mess.

  • thehorrorchick

    It’s a fun, silly movie and was completely up my alley; certainly won’t be for everyone but I think anyone who just wants to have some fun (save the serious genre stuff for Prometheus) should have a blast….

    And trust me, Katrina’s line MAY have Shark Attack 3 beat…just by an inch though. 😉

  • MagusMaleficus

    You had me at “boobier”.

  • aliensharkboy

    First off, wow…. this has been getting horrible reviews here in the UK… Well, I trust this review! I am very excited to see it!

    And I agree with will graham, Shark Attack 3 still has the best line in any creature feature!

  • Masked Slasher

    Opening on 75 screens, it’s sad that the vast majority of the audience won’t get the chance to see this anywhere but in their living rooms.

    Good call, Dimension. Shoot a flick in 3D and then dump it.

    • Tshoffie

      Thats because even the movie theaters are smart enough to realize what a complete piece of shit this movie is…

      • Masked Slasher

        Well we know that NOW.

        A week ago I was legitimately pissed that I wasn’t going to be able to see this in theaters.

        Now I realize that Dimension did me a favor for once.

        • Terminal

          Dimension dumped this like the fat chick at prom and for good reason. It’s horse shit.

          • Masked Slasher

            Agreed. That this is getting any kind of favorable reception AT ALL is absolutely shocking to me.

          • The Woman In Black

            For me it was all about The Hoff. He’s virtually the only good thing about it. It was lowbrow, mean spirited (which I usually like but didn’t work due to the comical nature of everything else), and just made no sense really. For instance, was Zylka the only cop in the entire town? And why didn’t everyone just jump out of the pools? It wasn’t like they were stranded there like the people in the lake in the first one. P3DD was a major disappointment in every way possible.

          • Masked Slasher

            I did like the slow zooms when the Hoff kept turning around while that kid was screaming for help.

            It was the only time in the whole movie I got a legitimate, big laugh.

            But yeah, the pool stuff was awful, as was everything that came before it. The “Piranha in the chooch” might’ve worked had it been played a little straighter, but it was begging the audience to laugh at it – and that’s never funny.

  • will graham

    I would give it 3 out of 5.
    I really enjoyed it but I do think the original 3D is better in every way.
    It’s also save to say if you didn’t like the first one you’re not going to like this.

    Shark Attack 3 still has the best line in the last decade.

  • Vanvance1

    I’d love to get a chance to see this on the big screen in 3D. Maybe after now the gang can get back together and give us Feast 4.

  • Rottenjesus

    Blood, laughs, breasts and The Hoff. What more needs to be said?

    • Crimestick

      you took the words right out of my mouth…