Alexandre Aja’s 2010 surprise horror-hit Piranha 3D didn’t fair too well at the box office, but it did please horror fans around the world as they gathered around their 3D screens to witness one of the goriest and most campiest horror films in recent memory. He held back nothing and gave the audience everything in a blood-soaked fashion, with gracious nudity and a thin (but relevant) plot to top it off. John Gulager‘s almost straight-to-video sequel Piranha 3DD is a far cry from Aja’s film and actually ends up being one of the bigger disappointments of the year.
Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) is back from school for the summer. She’s stuck with a kind-of relative named Chet (David Koechner) to help keep an eye on the family’s water park. Chet has given the park a makeover and fired all active lifeguards in exchange for scantily-clad women and celebrities like David Hasselhoff.
Clearly he’s all about the money and not the safety, which troubles Maddy and the rest of her friends. In an effort to cut costs, Chet taps into the lake’s water, which unleashes violent, blood-thirsty pre-historic piranhas on all of the water park’s guests. It’s a complete disaster and in time of crisis they turn to a legless survivor from the previous film (Ving Rhames) and a bunch of idiotic teens.
John Gulager’s Piranha 3DD is as directionless as the film’s story, with everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to this cheap cash-in of a sequel. At least the first film had a coherent story that was loosely followed, but still respected. Aja understood how to balance the violence and carnage with a laughable story that was still a necessity to the film. Gulager throws that out the window and tries making something that is too worried about winks and nudges than actual progression.
The violence isn’t even increased, it is instead diminished to just blood-filled pools and the occasional decapitation. Nudity isn’t cleverly inserted or a part of the film, it’s just an excuse for a quick cut away from any specific scene for a minute or two.
I’m not one to complain about horror films, especially ones with half-naked women and buckets of blood, but is it too much to ask for a little care and kindness towards the genre? Gulager clearly doesn’t give two shits about the horror genre and he most likely doesn’t even understand what made Aja’s film work and his fail.
Anchor Bay presents the film in 1080p on two discs. The first disc houses a 3D version of the film and the second disc features the flat 2D presentation. Oddly enough the 2D version features the strongest detail and clarity, while the 3D version provides the much-needed depth, but in doing so suffers from ghosting and image retention. If you’re looking for the absolute best transfer in terms of coloring and that “wow” sense of clarity then you’ll want to stick with 2D presentation, but if you want to fully commit to the gimmick then check out the 3D counterpart.
The film’s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track splashes onto Blu-Ray with pool-party mayhem and lots of intense sound. Dialogue drives the front speakers and chit-chat and party ambiance fills up the back speakers. This is an energetic track that replicates the film’s location without question.
Piranha 3DD comes to Blu-Ray with the following bonus material:
- 3D & 2D versions of the film.
- Audio Commentary: A dull track with director John Gulager and his co-writer Marcus Dunstan. The duo talks about shooting the film in 3D and they even have the audacity to compare their work to the previous film.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): Two and a half minutes of forgettable deleted scenes.
- The Story Behind the DD (HD): A brief overview that lets the cast and crew speak about the film and other interesting topics.
- The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff (HD): This is a prime example of beating the dead horse.
- Busey’s Bloopers (HD): Gary Busey was in the film (briefly) and for some reason they’ve decided to remind us of that.
- Wet and Wild with David Koechner (HD): Koechner discusses the sex and violence in the film.
- A Lesson with John McEnroe – A Dimension Short Film (HD): I’m not sure why this unrelated short is included as a bonus feature.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
John Gulager somehow managed to make a film of lower quality than Alexandre Aja’s sleazy (but incredibly fun) Piranha 3D. Gulager simply doesn’t understand the idea behind making cheesy and gory horror films with loads of violence and sex. He tries adapting the most basic idea of what a throwback killer fish movie should be like, but in doing so comes out on the other end of the spectrum with a glorified Asylum Entertainment-level film that solely exists to promote faded stars like David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey, while giving semi-talented actresses like Danielle Panabaker something to do for a couple of hours.
Watching Piranha 3DD does not bring back those fond memories of watching Piranha 3D, instead it makes you long for the days when making schlock horror wasn’t that hard of a thing to do. I’m sure there is already a built audience for this kind of film and those people might find some level of enjoyable simply because there is blood and sex evident in the film, but it’s so lazy and so unrewarding to watch. I urge viewers to skip this Blu-Ray, despite its strong video presentation and attractive audio mix in exchange for Alexandre Aja’s much better Piranha 3D.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.