Piranha 3DD (Blu-ray / DVD)



Sleepwalkers (Blu-ray)Starring Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames

Directed by John Gulager

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment


After following up the fantastic High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes remake with the dreadful P2 and Mirrors, Alexandre Aja surprised fans by giving us Piranha 3D, a silly, breasts ‘n blood-filled bit of exploitation that was not only the exact opposite of his typical, more serious-minded fare, but was also an utter blast, full of naughty humor and jaw-droppingly violent setpieces. As that movie was a success, a sequel was, of course, inescapable. And now, after a brief fling with VOD and a limited theatrical release, Feast director John Gulager’s follow-up Piranha 3DD has hit Blu-ray for all to finally see.

And yikes, is it terrible.

3DD opens with Maddy (Panabaker), a young marine biology student who returns home to her family’s water park, only to discover that her sleazy stepfather Chet (Koechner) has turned it into “Big Wet”, an adult theme park with stripper life guards and an “adults only” swimming area. Unbeknownst to others, Chet has been illegally filling his park with water from a nearby lake. A lake which may or may not be infested with the pissed off super-piranha from the previous film (spoiler – it’s totally infested with the pissed off super-piranha from the previous film).

You can see where this is going. Adult water park + piranha = a rehash of Piranha 3D’s climactic, nudity-and-gore-filled spring break bloodbath (albeit on a more contained, less enjoyable scale).

Along the way to the piranha’s inevitable booby buffet, we are treated to a few useless cameos (Doc Brown, Baywatch, Mr. Joshua, and Marcellus Wallace doing his best Cherry Darling impression); piranha that can leap several yards out of a lake, but not three inches out of an aquarium (to say nothing of the devil-fish being unable to shatter said aquarium’s glass even though it can punch through friggin’ steel); a town that seemingly has only one on-duty cop (and a crooked one at that); characters who discover the same type of piranha responsible for a national tragedy, only to investigate further before, y’know, alerting the authorities; and some of the dodgiest damned CG you’ll see in a studio release outside of 1992.

Dropping all of the previous film’s fun in favor of upping the gore and nudity, Piranha 3DD is a seventy-minute mess of a film (padded out to eighty-two minutes with an unending set of terribly unfunny bloopers), chock full of cardboard-thin characters, bad dialogue, and an unhealthy dose of sleaze. 3DD is nothing more than a series of setpieces strung together haphazardly, unable to congeal into anything even remotely resembling a plot. I wasn’t demanding much from a movie called Piranha 3DD, dammit, but is it too much to ask for the filmmakers to at least attempt to tell a story while piling on the girls and grue?

Writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan put in career-nadir work here, as 3DD is easily their worst script to date (yes, worse than Saw 3D, somehow). Director Gulager seems to be getting worse with each subsequent film, crafting a movie with no pace and numerous continuity gaffes. While his first film, Feast, was a great deal of fun, full of outrageous action and wicked humor, the Feast sequels and 3DD seem concerned only with juvenile attempts at comedy and bloodshed. I wish the man the best, but I fear how terrible his next film might be.

This is all a pity, as the assembled cast is actually quite decent (though none are able to overcome the script or direction). Panabaker and Bowden are fast becoming genre vets, and put in solid work along with Bush, Zylka, and Koechner. Christopher Lloyd and Gary Busey have fun with their cameos (though Ving Rhames looks miserable), while Hasselhoff’s extended “special appearance” is mostly misjudged and quite unfunny (with the exception of one truly hilarious sequence that riffs on Jaws).

The image and sound are both top notch on Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. Sure, the disc has a razor-sharp image, but that only serves to underline just how cheap the film looks. The audio is crystal-clear, though the sound design is less than stellar. Still, if you’re determined to watch the film (and if you have the tech), you’ll want to go ahead and check out the film in 3D.

A quick glance at the bonus features could lead one to believe that the disc is stacked with extras, but sadly there’s little to be found here. The deleted scenes section is really just a two-and-a-half minute collection of extra moments featuring the loathsome “Big Dave” character. “The Story Behind the DD” is as depth-free as the film itself, with a few talking heads and some behind-the-scenes intercut with the film’s trailer adding up to seven-and-a-half minutes of your life you’ll never get back. “The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff” has the washed-up celebrity overestimating his cult appeal for about two minutes, while “Busey’s Bloopers” is less a collection of on-set flubs and more just a mean-spirited airing of a brain-damaged man’s borderline-incoherent rambling. This was meant to be amusing, guys? Not cool.

“Wet and Wild with David Koechner” features the usually hilarious actor speaking behind the scenes and generally looking embarrassed at being a part of the film. Wrapping up the bonus features is “A Lesson with John McEnroe”, a short film featuring the hotheaded tennis pro being an asshole to his equally assholish new student. It’s brief, only faintly amusing, and has fuck-all to do with Piranha 3DD. It’s also the best thing on the disc.

Look, I really am a fan of fun, silly, wild exploitation flicks. But dammit, the Kevin Smith/Cop Out defense doesn’t work if the movie in question fails to entertain on any level. A “fun” movie has to actually be fun, otherwise what’s the point? Piranha 3DD isn’t scary, it isn’t funny, it isn’t sexy, it isn’t entertaining, and it isn’t worth your damn time.

Avoid.

Special Features

  • Filmmakers Feature Commentary
  • The Story Behind the DD
  • The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff
  • Busey’s Bloopers
  • Wet and Wild with David Koechner
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “A Lesson with John McEnroe” – A Dimension Short Film

    Film:

    1 out of 5

    Special Features:

    1 out of 5

    Discuss Piranha 3DD in our comments section below!




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    Matt Serafini's picture

    This is a terrible film.

    Unless something worse is coming down the pike in the next three months, this will have no trouble topping my worst of the year list this December.


    Submitted by Matt Serafini on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 7:41am.
    theGoldenSimatar's picture

    The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2


    Submitted by theGoldenSimatar on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 9:39am.
    Bang on!
    Vanvance1's picture

    Bang on!


    Submitted by Vanvance1 on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 2:39pm.
    theGoldenSimatar's picture

    I actually enjoyed the film and did pick it up on the 3D Blu-Ray set. I didn't go in expecting anything more than something silly and immature and to be honest, it delivered on it's promise of blood-gore and tits and ass.

    Though when I saw it in theater, was the only one laughing at David Koechner's accidental reverse with a golf cart. The few other folks there (including a fairly older guy) seemed appalled.

    And seeing Anchor Bay releasing a 3D film has me excited as they're also doing Bait 3D later this month.


    Submitted by theGoldenSimatar on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 11:14pm.
    Terminal's picture

    Loved P2, Loved Feast, the ending to Haute Tension is wonderful, and I fucking hated "Piranha 3DD."

    I'm not going to pretend Piranha 3D was a masterpiece or even remotely excellent, but it was fun. This movie is just so fucking awful. Wow. Not even Panabaker and Bowden could save this crap.

    Half a knife movie for me.


    Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 11:02pm.
    Vanvance1's picture

    I'll post my comments in point form this time.

    1 - Aja did not direct P2, he merely produced it.

    2 - I found P2 surprisingly entertaining.

    3 - High Tension has the worst ending of any horror movie anywhere, anytime. It is so awful it completeley overshadows any positive aspects of the film.

    4 - Feast wasn't just good, it was fucking marvelous. Feast 2 was almost equally amusing. Feast 3 didn't work but I think that's because the money ran dry.

    5 - Piranha 3DD isn't great, or even good but it does have some entertaining moments and it's very easy to watch. I found the Hasselhoff bits to be good for a chuckle.

    6 - The quality of the blu ray's picture is poor. This has been noted in other reviews and on my system it's certainly no beauty.

    7 - For me it's a 2.5 knife movie. I think that like Feast 3 the ambition was there but the time and money wasn't.


    Submitted by Vanvance1 on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 8:13pm.
    Jinx's picture

    Vanvance -

    I appreciate the change of format. I'll reply in kind.

    1. Aja did produce and co-write P2, so I count him somewhat responsible for its existence, which was the only point I was making.

    2. I wish I had. I'd been looking forward to it for some time before its release, only to be bitterly disappointed.

    3. I adore that ending, for reasons I could go on and on about, though I recognize why it's so divisive.

    4. I really enjoyed the first film, but the second was just terrible. And the third made the second look like the first.

    5. Glad you enjoyed it. I wish I had.

    6. While the disc certainly isn't reference quality, I don't blame the film's shoddy look on the transfer so much as the film itself. It's quite cheap looking, though the image is sharp.

    7. Money shouldn't have interfered with the script writing, or the editing. A bigger budget wouldn't have saved the film, it would've only made it more excessive.

    Still, I'm glad some have enjoyed this. I only wish that the next sequel will have Gulager in top, Feast-level form. Or, maybe Dimension could just hire Lussier and Farmer for it.


    Submitted by Jinx on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 9:00pm.
    Vanvance1's picture

    I appreciate the reply.

    Do you really think Lussier deserves a shot at this? Drive Angry wasn't much fun. Jason Eisner of 'Hobo with a Shotgun' would be a better choice for over-the-top B-movie glory.


    Submitted by Vanvance1 on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 3:05am.
    Jinx's picture

    I really dug Lussier's last two films, and I think his sensibilities would be a good match for this franchise.

    Now that you mention it, though, Eisener would be a solid choice too.


    Submitted by Jinx on Mon, 09/10/2012 - 10:22am.

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