Piranha 3D: The 3D Invasion

3D movies are a gimmick, usually used to drive up ticket prices. Most of the films it’s used in lately do not need it all, and generally pull it off poorly. 3D was originally used in the 70’s and 80’s as a way to make bad horror movies look a little better and get people in the theater. Piranha 3D brings things back to basics, following this tradition, and embracing it.

Horror movies as of late try and take themselves way too seriously, which is not always necessary. When your premise is thin, it usually just makes the characters unlikable and the drama seem forced. Or, even worse, they just strictly rely on gore, shock value and jump scares (I’m looking at you, Eli Roth). Piranha 3D does not fall into this trap. The writers of the movie realized how ridiculous their plot was and they ran with it, but the actors still take their role seriously, making for a very enjoyable movie.

Piranha 3D is a killer fish movie, if you couldn’t figure it out from the title. The plot is simple: Prehistoric man-eating piranhas are released from an underground cave during spring break. If you need a better synopsis than that, then this movie is not for you. It’s a basic premise that is nothing more than excuse for nudity, gore, death, and suspense, as god intended in horror movies. The movie delivers fantastically in all these areas. It’s made clear the fish are a threat to anyone in the water, and when they attack, it’s brutal.

Visually, it’s a good-looking movie, the fish are big and threatening. The 3D is used a lot, and while it’s still a gimmick, it adds to the fun of the experience. A few deaths are very gruesome, and the climactic scene is worth the buildup. The last half hour of the movie is the best thing I’ve seen in theaters all year. Almost no CGI is used, except to show the fish. All the death is done with make-up and buckets of blood, and it looks amazing.

The actors do a pretty good job for the most part. Jake, the protagonist played by Steven McQueen, does a believable job of showing us the terror he feels while working with some other major actors such as Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connel, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd. The main problem however, is the extras. Late in the movie, when there are lots of crowd scenes, and a lot of death and dismemberment is going on, a lot of the extras in the background look confused rather than scared. I don’t know what the director told them, but it wasn’t what was going on in the scene. There are literally people holding their guts with stupid expressions on their faces as people are killed in front of them. You don’t really notice it unless you’re looking for it, but it does distract from the scene a little if you’re observant.

Overall, it’s a simple summer horror movie that’s just fun to watch. Sure the 3D may not be necessary, but it adds to the enjoyment. If you’re going in expecting a deep story with lots of character development, you’re looking in the wrong genre. However, if you like movies involving stupid teens being eaten alive by killer fish, this movie is a must see.

    • beelzy
    • January 17th, 2011

    I have not watched this movie, but when I looked up previews on youtube, I was fascinated to learn that quite a few porn stars made cameos in this movie (Gianna Michaels, Ashlyn Brookes, just to name a couple). At any rate, good review! Might check it out sometime.

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