Published May 31, 2012Things aren't looking up for the Piranha franchise. For some reason – fast money – the Weinsteins have ventured into producing softcore porn, in a market that's unapologetic towards anything not shot POV-style or that doesn't feature Abella Anderson.
Alexandre Aja, who helmed the remake of the original Piranha (Piranha 3D), understands this, which is most likely why he didn't sign on for the sequel. Aja is a filmmaker; People like James Quandt write about him in journals. Director John Gulager, who helmed Piranha 3DD, is not.
It's not a mystery what makes Piranha 3DD play so flat. Sure, the set-up is similar to Aja's film. There is a scrawny dude with a good heart who must compete with an asshole hunk for the heroine's heart. There is also a considerable amount of gore and breasts. People get clotheslined and lose their heads, while nude strippers get torn to pieces by an evolving batch of underground piranhas.
Even some of the same charming characters are present: Ving Rhames, as the now legless Deputy Fallon, and Christopher Lloyd, as scientist Carl Goodman. But that aside, there's nothing entirely new or shocking about 3DD. Aja's film teased, broke with and manipulated genre conventions, while Gulager's film merely includes them.
In terms of plot, Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) is a hot young thang who owns 49 percent of her deceased mother's water park, Big Wet. Maddy's sleaze-bag stepfather, Chet (David Koechner), owns the other 51 percent. Chet, whose educational background lies in business, comes up with the brilliant idea of turning the family water park into a backwoods brothel, so to speak. There are even vending machines for contraceptives.
In the days leading up to the park's grand opening, which will feature a guest appearance by Baywatch goon David Hasselhoff, strange occurrences begin to plague Maddy and her tight-knit group of friends. First off, two of them go missing. Then Maddy's friend, Shelby, has a mishap where a piranha works its way into her belly and bites off her boyfriend's penis while he's making love to her. That alone is incentive for Maddy to pull the plug; she goes to her stepfather and begs him to shut down the park. Of course, he refuses. After all, Chet has an even greater trick up his sleeve. He's about to pump a whole squadron of piranhas straight up the drainage pipes into the water park.
While Piranha 3DD might have some squirmish moments, ultimately there are very few redeeming ones. (Alliance)