2010 may well have been the year that Christopher Nolan dared audiences to dream bigger in Inception or the year that a college student changed the face of online communication in The Social Network. It is also worth a mention of Alexandre Aja’s sleeper hit remake of the 1978 B-movie, Piranha 3D. It was a crowd pleasing, does-it-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin guilty pleasure that pitted scores of prehistoric man-eating fish against a bustling Spring Break posse of randy and boozed up teens. It whipped up a consistent mix of gross-out gore, belly laughter and the likes of Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd and Elizabeth Shue to soak up the sun and engage in a battle for survival against the latest residents of Lake Victoria. Piranha 3D fully earned its fair share of the Summer box office alongside the big guns of Salt, The Expendables and many more.
With a constant urge for filmmakers to regurgitate classic horror films and to recycle them even further with dreadfully created sequels, Piranha 3DD (yes some noggin actually agreed to this rather unique title) is no different in this never ending cycle. Moving on from the aftermath of Lake Victoria, the killer piranha (having somehow evolved to be able to attack on land) have now travelled upstream to a newly opened water park in Arizona and out to cause more carnage. The opening scene is something to savour not just because it involves the unhinged Gary Busey as a redneck farmer proving that the piranha aren’t the only ones with sharp incisors but it is one of the rare high points in an otherwise shoddy damp squib of a sequel.
Moving on to The Big Wet waterpark in Arizona, we find our new batch of teens putting together the final preparations for the opening of the local water attraction headed up by Anchorman’s David Koechner as Chet, a selfish entrepreneur who pays off the local cops to turn a blind eye and permit him to pump water from the underwater lakes into his water theme park. Little does he know as Christopher Lloyd (reprising his role as the eccentric ichthyologist) rambles on that,” The piranhas could become confused. Then try to enter man made draining systems.” What follows is a drawn out build up to the inevitable mayhem that ensues the park and it’s visitors which does not come anywhere near the scale of it’s predecessor’s main act that transformed Lake Victoria into an enormous bloodbath.
It does however perk up when Mr Baywatch himself David Hasselhoff appears on screen as himself to be a famous lifeguard self-depreciating his own career highs and lows and holding his bronzed gut in when making a rescue. Ving Rhames also writes, or shall we say blasts, out a love letter to Robert Rodriguez and Planet Terror with his return of Deputy Fallon now a water-fearing, chair-ridden deputy who just so happens to sport a pumping shotgun attached to where his legs used to be.
Months before release, Piranha 3DD was slated for a straight-to-DVD release which what should have happened. Ultimately John Gulager’s effort is the perfect example of a sequel that should not have been pursued. The cast might as well have been recruited from the nearest rib shack as they could have easily surpassed the “performances” on screen. The 3D element was utterly worthless and it speaks volumes when after the end credits, a reel of bloopers and outtakes are used to fill in the shallow running time. The year of the fish? Maybe it’s time we fin-ished it there!