Blu-ray Review: Abysmally Unfunny ‘Piranha 3DD’ Doubles the Awfulness

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CHICAGO – “Piranha 3DD” is such a pathetic excuse for entertainment that it doesn’t even deserve to be regarded as a film. It’s just soft-core porn stuffed with shoddy special effects. The titillation factor is zilch and the scare factor is even lower than that. Even frat boys under the influence of multiple drugs may have difficulty finding this dreck watchable, let alone funny.

Director John Gulager is the Project Greenlight winner whose 2005 schlock-fest, “Feast,” still remains his crowning achievement. He appears to have no knowledge of why camp has the potential to be amusing. Truly funny camp must be constructed with a degree of sincerity. “The Room” is a timeless comedy classic because its eccentric creator, Tommy Wiseau, mistakenly thought he was making a searing relationship drama. You simply can’t make a movie like that on purpose. Everyone who does fails spectacularly. Blu-ray Rating: 0.5/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 0.5/5.0

At least 2010’s execrable yet pleasingly silly “Piranha 3D” had the benefit of a serious horror filmmaker, Alexander Aja (“High Tension”), in the director’s chair. He gave the self-aware snark a sense of style. Gulager’s visual palette is flat and unexciting even in three dimensions. The plot transports the rubbery fanged fishies from the beach to a water park run by David Koechner (recently featured in another awful Dimension release, “Final Destination 5”). He plans to drum up more business with the inclusion of an “Adult Pool” inhabited entirely by nude women. This disgusts his stepdaughter, Maddy (Danielle Panabaker), as well as everyone with an I.Q. over 0.5. Once the swarm of piranha squeeze their way into Koechner’s pools, the bloodbath commences at last. Though the picture barely registers as feature-length, it feels like it takes forever for the film to arrive at its primary setpiece. Until then, the audience is treated to the usual slasher sequences where sweaty foreplay is interrupted by CGI monstrosities. Like the birds in “Birdemic,” these fish inspire a laugh only upon initial viewing, and that viewing already took place in “Piranha 3D.”

Piranha 3DD was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012.
Piranha 3DD was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4, 2012.
Photo credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Instead of devising clever banter or inspired slapstick, Gulager relies on pratfalls involving cow flatulence. He expects audiences to laugh at the mere presence of Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames riffing on their predictable personas without a single decent gag to back them up. It’s flat-out depressing to see Lloyd blustering through a tired Doc Brown imitation, while David Hasselhoff struggles mightily to achieve Shatneresque immortality with his self-deprecating extended cameo as a celebrity lifeguard. His self-involved posturing will delight a smattering of “Baywatch” fans and absolutely no one else (“Welcome to rock bottom,” he says without a shred of irony). Want to see a truly hilarious B-movie? Rent “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon” instead. It has far funnier effects and one of the most priceless lines of dialogue in film history. You’ll know it when you hear it.

“Piranha 3DD” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by English and Spanish subtitles and is available in a combo pack equipped with a 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy of the film. The Blu-rays include featurettes with titles like “The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff” (the less said about them, the better). Producer/co-writer Joel Soisson and co-writer Marcus Dunstan join Galager on the commentary track to laugh through their self-congratulatory mess. The director makes sure to highlight the cameo from his father, Clu Galager, star of NBC’s ’60s-era western series, “The Virginian,” whose 1969 short, “A Day with the Boys,” was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Apparently the apple falls exponentially far from the tree.

‘Piranha 3DD’ is released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and stars Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, Katrina Bowden, Jean-Luc Bilodeau, David Koechner, Ving Rhames, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd and David Hasselhoff. It was written by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan and Joel Soisson and directed by John Gulager. It was released on September 4, 2012. It is rated R. staff writer Matt Fagerholm

Staff Writer

Bob Smith's picture

Personally I liked the first

Personally I liked the first movie, the ending set up for plenty of sequels to come. Now that a co-worker at Dish informed me that the sequel just came out for rent, I’ll definitely put this movie at the top of my Blockbuster@Home queue list so that I can get it as soon as possible. I like Blockbuster@Home because I can rent games and movies, access online content, and stream movies straight to my TV. I do believe that it’s better to play games and rent movies for a flat monthly fee instead of buying them. It saves a ton of money in the long run.

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