In 2010 the Piranha remake came along and pleasantly surprised with just how much fun it was. As ridiculous, silly and ultimately throwaway it was as a piece of Hollywood entertainment it at least provided the gory deaths and outrageously brazen nudity it promised, as well as utilizing the 3D in a very knowingly ludicrous way. Ultimately it was just a hell of a lot of fun.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for its sequel, the shamelessly titled Piranha 3DD, a decisively less imaginative and ultimately more repetitive movie than its predecessor that manages to seem like a rip-off of a previous movie that, in itself, was a remake.
A spring break getaway lake is swapped for a water park this time around. The titular ancient piranha are back for seconds by making their way through the drainage system and into the water where everyone from “water certified strippers” to small children are unaware of what’s about to befall them.
The problem with this rather tiresome sequel probably has a lot to do with the change in directors. The first film was directed by Alexandre Aja who is known for his brutal gore (see Switchblade Romance AKA High Tension and his remake of The Hills Have Eyes as proof) and that mixed very well, rather appropriately, with the sheer ridiculousness first time around. But this time it’s in the hands of Feast director John Gulager who, while still delivering the gore, doesn’t quite give it the edge that the first one possessed. As a result it sits firmly in the shadow of the first film, always reminding you that this sort of thing was done before a lot better.
There’s also a lot more emphasis on the CGI of the piranha themselves, striving for a bigger and better approach by showing us more of the fish mutilating the poor folks who just want to enjoy the waterpark. You shouldn’t be expecting Avatar from the special effects as, after all, this is a schlocky movie about pre-historic killer fish but at the same time when you see so much of it it’s a problem that some of the effects are ropey to say the least.
There’s also too much time spent on the human storylines. Last time it involved Elisabeth Shue as the sheriff of the spring break town and her kids, for example, but here the teen characters are just not interesting to hold the large amount of screen time devoted to them. There’s too much waiting around before we get to the big attack set-piece.
Piranha 3DD is occasionally fun when it finds its funny bone in extended gags about David Hasselhoff not actually being a lifeguard or the inexplicable return of a now wheelchair-bound character from the first film. And if you enjoy the general mayhem of the piranha attacking people – with added ridiculous 3D thrown in for good measure – then this sequel is not totally devoid of entertainment. But as a modern day guilty pleasure horror the first movie was far more successful and in the wake of that this feels like blood-splattered old hat.