When Dimension Films announced that they’d be releasing the John Gulager-directed Piranha 3DD in limited theaters day-and-date with VOD instead of on 3,000 screens, I was immediately concerned. Typically, that’s an indication of the studio’s lack of confidence, depending on who the distributor is. Yet, that model is the new cool, and a way to avoid spending nearly $15 million bucks on marketing. Still, it helped level my expectations on the new collaboration between the Feast director and writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton.
If you were to combine Alex Aja’s Piranha 3D with Gulager’s Piranha 3DD, in theaters June 1, you’d have a nearly perfect B-Movie. What works for one movie, doesn’t in the other, and vice versa. Yet, I highly prefer Piranha 3DD over the initial remake that chose to post-convert to 3-D instead of using the real deal.
In Piranha 3DD, Maddy (played by Friday the 13th‘s Danielle Panabaker) re-opens her family’s “The Big Wet Water Park” with her asinine stepfather Chet (David Koechner). His grand idea is to make it the sexiest waterpark of all time. Meanwhile, the prehistoric piranha from the first fiilm are back and working their way through the waterpipes into the park.
First and foremost, the best part of Piranha 3DD is that it was actually shot in 3-D this time around. And being that the pic is a horror comedy, it’s the perfect film to receive the extra dimension. It’s sleezy fun that’s jam-packed with garbage humor and grotesque imagery; more in the vein of what I expected from Aja’s remake. It has no boundaries and takes jokes as far as they can go; it’s as if Dunstan and Melton had the Hollywood handcuffs removed and were given free reign to write anything they wanted. Adding Gulager, a fan of cheesy horror and genre puppetry, to the mix was a brilliant way to bring this genre back to the world of Roger Corman.
Being that the flick is overflowing with blood, guts and extreme nudity (most at the beginning), the only real downfall is the film’s lack of impact. While Gulagar has grown since his Feast days, some of the gags just don’t “hit” or “pop”, leaving the audience sort of quietly giggling to themselves — the opposite of what you’d expect from a popcorn movie like this.
So then, just how much of a popcorn flick is Piranha 3DD? You’ve got an opening sequence riddled in boobies, Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) with a shotgun leg, Katrina Bowden’s delicious rump, along with appearances by David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey. What more do you want? It helps with expectations knowing that it’s basically a direct-to-video release, and it delivers just enough to make the hardcore horror hounds happy. It’s worth taking a dip in this pool — while there’s not much bite, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.