Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reel Bad Cinema: Piranha DD (2012) review


Danielle Panabaker (Maddy), Matt Bush (Barry), Katrina Bowden (Shelby), Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Josh), David Koechner (Chet), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Goodman), David Hasselhoff (himself), Gary Busey (Clayton), Clu Gulager (Mo)

Directed by John Gulager

The Short Version: This lactose intolerant 3D sequel to Alexander Aja's 2010 3D remake of Joe Dante's killer fish classic wants badly to be as offensively hip as the do-over, but ends up just being plain bad. It's stupidly entertaining for the first 50 minutes then the rest of the movie is seemingly taken over by a third grader. It's trashy and periodically flashes the double D's of the title, but this 70 minute (minus end credits that seem to go on forever) wonder blunder fails to get by on dirty pillows alone ultimately receiving a failing grade of a DD+.

Maddy, a marine biology student, returns home for the summer to find her sleazy step-father has opened an Adult themed water park called 'Big Wet'. At Cross Lake, the ferocious killer fish that ravaged the nearby Lake Victoria resort a year prior, have resurfaced by navigating through underground rivers as well as being farted out of dead cows. The hungry prehistoric fish begin gorging themselves anew on swimmers and anyone who sets foot into the water.

The guy who brought you FEAST (and its sequels), the thrilling, suspense filled horror classic said no one ever, now brings you a 3D sequel to Alexander Aja's remake of the 1978 PIRANHA. Aja's movie was a ton of fishy fun, brazenly wearing its badge of stupid on its flesh-shredded arm. Gulager goes for the same here, but it rarely succeeds in the same capacity.

The opening sequence lets you know just how ridiculous the film is going to be what with Gary Busey and Clu Gulager poking a dead cow in a lake causing the rotting animal to fart out baby piranha eggs gestating inside it. This is an attempt to one-up the JAWS in-joke opener with Richard Dreyfuss from Aja's PIRANHA. While that was a prime candidate for greatest horror movie gag ever, PIRANHA DD settles for flatulence humor in what amounts to the first of several ANIMAL HOUSE level, horror laced gags.

Working with a scaled back budget (24 million of the first vs. 5 million of the sequel), Gulager (sort of) manages to make a good go of it even recreating some shots that recall the Corman produced original; one of these being an attack on a pier that resembles the log raft sequence from the '78 production. But that's about all the good one can say about it. 

Despite its title, this is more of a C cup than DD sleaze with less splatter effects, less nudity, a barely full length running time, and a script with typical frat party dialog delivered by actors who want you to believe they're having a GREAT time. Even David Hasselhoff is in on the joke, and seems to relish poking fun of himself. Arguably his best bit involves a little boy who doesn't know who he is. But by the second or third time we see the Hoff in majestic slow motion with his BAYWATCH theme playing in the background, the joke has already become senile.

Speaking of senility, Christopher Lloyd is one of three encoring characters from the previous picture. He basically reiterates the same spiel he did before, but adds to the body humor repertoire with his championing of his youtube success with the "Laughing Diarrhea Baby". For shits and giggles, if you look it up on youtube, this HERE is among the poo poo platter found in the search.

I'm sure in a few years, Lloyd might wish he had a Flux Capacitor handy to go back and decline his acceptance in this thing; or better yet, alter the future so as to get better roles in his twilight years.

The movie itself is bloody, but nowhere near the gore holocaust of the 2010 film. This is not a problem, although viewers expecting something as ghoulish as the remake will be sorely disappointed. And some of the gore is accomplished(?) via horrid computer graphics. For example, two decapitations are incredibly shoddy. On the flipside, some of the CGI piranha look good, but this might be due to some prosthetic creatures mixed in with some of the attack scenes.

For a flick with a 'DD' in its title and poster artwork championing Matterhorn sized mammaries, Gulager's movie falls flat there, too. There's lots of nudity, but it's in quick flashes; and there's very few big D's on display for those who are watching just for that. There's nothing seen here that even comes close to trumping the 'Underwater Dance of the Lesbo Lilies' between Kelly Brook and Riley Steele from 2010s PIRANHA.

The film also barely manages to make it to feature length. I can't recall the last theatrical production that was 70 minutes long. Even the execrable KUNG POW (2005) managed 75 minutes. The filmmakers compensate by initiating the longest ending credits ever packing them slam full of  flubbed lines, outtakes and additional scenes including more Hasselhoff in a bizarre slo-mo trident twirling routine next to a beach.

Regarding the ending, it goes downhill when it should be going for broke. It's like the filmmakers had a little too much to drink for the big finale. Either that, or the reigns were turned over to elementary school students.

I can overlook earlier scenes like -- a piranha being able to ram itself through galvanized steel to reach a frog, yet it can't break through the glass aquarium; and this other over the top moment where Katrina Bowden has a baby piranha nestle itself inside her vagina, only to exit once it latches itself onto her boyfriends dick. The scene climaxes (haha) nastily enough when this guy ends up severing his member instead of attempting to pry the piranha off. 

Speaking of Bowden, she's the centerpiece of a great puking scene. She really lets the chunks fly. Twice actually (the second occurs during the piranha cocksucker scene mentioned above). John Gulager gets bonus points for putting a spectacular puking scene in his movie; and in slow motion no less. Horror needs a renaissance where instances of cinematic regurgitation are concerned. The Italians cornered the market in the 80s, now it's time for American horror filmmakers to toss their lunches into the up chuck arena.

Going back to the ending, it's pure chaos once the assault of the piranhas begins. Just a little past the 50 minute mark, it redefines infantile with such shots as a fat guy fucking what I presume is the pool return line and getting a piranha stuck in his ass. 

The Hoff plays himself imitating a lifeguard and, after just sitting there while everybody is eaten, suddenly up and runs around with his own D's flapping in slow motion in an attempt to save a boy.  I just noticed there's an awful lot of slow motion in this thing.

Danielle Panabaker's character is sucked down to the bottom of a pool for what seems like an eternity and survives. 

David Koechner's slimy water park owner forks over some money to a little girl whose relative lay dying on the pavement only to be run over by him in what I assume is supposed to be a blackly humorous moment. This quickly culminates in a stupid death scene involving advertising flags. 

Then, in a last ditch effort to live up to the DD of the title, a woman with a gigantic chest runs gratuitously towards the camera in slow motion. She's gratuitously pictured above as a visual aid.

To top it off, Ving Rhames and Paul Scheer return (along with the above mentioned Christopher Lloyd) in what amounts to an extended cameo during the ending. Rhames shows up in a wheelchair that contains steel appendages that, for some reason or other, have shotguns attached to them! I assume this is a nod to Rose "Machine Gun Leg" McGowan in G****HOUSE (2007), one of the worst movies ever made. 

The final scene closes out the way the previous movie did -- hinting at a sequel that, considering this movies poor performance worldwide, will likely never come to fruition. PIRANHA DD has its moments, but is mostly a flat-chested attempt to be a rude, rowdy and rambunctious piece of trash on a level worthy of its sleazy title and promotional campaign. The piranha lack bite, and the silicon in these D's burst twenty minutes before the credits roll, but there's a tease or two that makes this worth a rental, or even a purchase so long as it's the version that comes with Aja's movie as a bonus disc.

This review is representative of the Anchor Bay DVD paired with PIRANHA (2010).

Related Posts with Thumbnails


copyright 2013. All text is the property of and should not be reproduced in whole, or in part, without permission from the author. All images, unless otherwise noted, are the property of their respective copyright owners.