Star cast: Steven R. McQueen, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry O’Connell, Jessica Szohr, Kelly Brook, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott
Plot: An earthquake in Lake Victoria sets free a dangerous species of Piranha, that kill many young revellers in the lake. The town’s sheriff & her son are left to save the day.
What’s Good: The 3D effects; the camerawork; the thrills and chills.
What’s Bad: The sight of the mutilated bodies; the lack of novelty and the similarity of the story to earlier creature films.
Verdict: Piranha 3D is not very exciting.
Loo break: None really.
Dimension Films’ Piranha 3D is a thrilling tale of a kind of fish – the Piranha – which devours humans and any life form at supersonic speed.
Jake (Steven R. McQueen) is admiring attractive tourists in Lake Victoria, in which fisherman Matthew Boyd (Richard Dreyfuss) had fallen and had been ripped apart by a school of piranhas that had emerged from the chasm. Jake reunites with his old girlfriend, Kelly (Jessica Szohr), and meets Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell), an eccentric pornographer, as well as Danni (Kelly Brook), one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the beach for filming a pornographic movie. Besides Jake, Kelly, Derrick and Danni, there are others too on Derrick’s boat, The Barracuda. The same night when Jake is with Kelly and Derrick, his (Jake’s) mother, Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue), is searching for the missing Matthew Boyd, with Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames). They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing down the beach.
Meanwhile, Jake’s little sister, Laura (Brooklynn Proulx), and little brother, Zane (Sage Ryan), who are both supposed to stay at home, go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake.
Julie Forester takes a team of siesmologist divers – Novak (Adam Scott), Sam (Ricardo Chavira) and Paula (Dina Meyer) – to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried pre-historic lake. Paula and Sam scuba-dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large egg stalks. Both are killed before they can escape and alert the others to the discovery. Julie and Novak find Paula’s corpse and pull it into their boat, capturing a lone piranha. They take the fish to Henry Goodman (Christopher Lloyd), a marine biologist who owns a pet store. Henry explains that the piranha is a pre-historic species, long believed to be extinct, which may have been trapped underground for over two million years.
Julie, Fallon and Novak now try to evacuate the beach but their warnings are ignored until the piranhas begin to attack the hundreds of tourists. The three try their best to help and save as many tourists as they can. A floating stage capsizes from the weight of all the panicking picnickers.
Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island, and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the rooms below the deck. Kelly gets trapped in the kitchen while Derrick and two others are thrown off the boat. Danni manages to get a partially devoured Derrick back on board but the two others are killed by the piranhas. A desperate Jake now calls his mother for help.
Julie and Novak commandeer a boat and take it to the sinking Barracuda. Are they able to save Jake, Kelly, Danni, Laura and Zane?
The film has thrills and chills, but the mutilated bodies of the people attacked by the piranhas are so terrible to see that the audience would also feel repulsed. Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg, Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur’s script is uni-dimensional and not very novel, considering that a lot of creature films have been seen in the last many years. Probably, what is quite novel is the 3D effect which is very good. Although the visuals of the piranhas attacking people do shock and scare the audience, the visuals of the disfigured bodies are too horrific to be digested by the ladies and family audiences.
Elisabeth Shue does a splendid job. Adam Scott is effective. Steven R. McQueen looks good and performs ably. Jessica Szohr is cute. Jerry O’Connell leaves a mark. Ving Rhames has his moments. Kelly Brook does a fine job. Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan lend fantastic support. Riley Steele (as Crystal), Paul Scheer (as cameraman Drew), Ricardo Chavira, Dina Meyer, Richard Dreyfuss, Cody Longo (as Todd Dupree), Jason Spisak (as Deputy Taylor Roberts) and Eli Roth (as contest emcee) provide able support. Christopher Lloyd is natural.
Alexandre Aja’s direction is quite effective. He has succeeded in creating the atmosphere and scaring the daylights out of the audience. But it is also true that the film offers precious little novelty except the 3D effect in a creature film. John R. Leonetti’s cinematography aids the director fabulously well. Baxter’s editing is crisp. Background music is pretty effective.
On the whole, Piranha 3D is a thriller-cum-horror movie but it is devoid of novelty. The business of the 3D version will be far better than that of the 2D version, but since not too many 3D prints have been released, the revenues will not be enough to cover the costs of the distributors. The dull pre-Diwali days and the poor initial will only add to the tale of woes of the distributors.