Blu-ray Review: Piranha 3DD

STUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: John Gulager | CAST: Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 9/4/2012 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo $29.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, short film
SPECS: R | 83 min. | Horror comedy | 1.78:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles
RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Piranha 3DD, a sequel to Piranha 3D – the 2010 reboot of the fan-favorite franchise from the ‘70s  – doesn’t have the teeth to cut it as the campy comedy-horror film it sets out to be.

It’s been a year since the furious fishies dined out on the curvy co-eds enjoying their spring break at Lake Victoria, and now guppies-gone-wrong are back for another taste. This time around, they’re seeking the bikinied skin of the patrons of The Big Wet Water Park, a brand new amusement attraction complete with water slides, a lazy river and an adults-only section.

Piranha 3DD movie sceneBut while the first Piranha was as inspiringly gory as it was frequently naked and unapologetically exploitative, Piranha 3DD is simply, er, gory and naked. The blood-letting isn’t cleverly conceived or particularly over-the-top—it’s actually hard to believe that the deaths were written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the team behind four Saw titles. The nudity, meanwhile, is of a random, montage-heavy nature—its lack of leering for the sake of rapid-fire editing gives it a wholly unspectacular Girls Gone Wild feel.

Returning cast members Ving Rhames (whose eaten leg has been replaced by a machine gun a la Grindhouse) and Christopher Lloyd (Track 29) don’t do much to raise the bar, nor do low-wattage stars Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies), Matt Bush (Margaret) or Katrina Bowden (TV’s 30 Rock), who suffers through one of the film’s grosser sequences involving her insides acting as a gestation ground for the toothy fish. Even the turn by everyone’s favorite a-hole David Koechner (Paul), the certifiably loony Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story) and David Hasselhoff (TV’s Baywatch) as himself don’t help. When The Hoff appears on the scene as part of a promotional gimmick, he mutters to himself, “This is it—rock bottom.” In more ways than one, Dave…

The collection of supplements is highlighted by a commentary, a bunch of Busey’s outtakes and a look at The Hoff, himself. Also included in the bonus package is A Lesson with John McEnroe, a 2012 short written and directed by Michael Ratner, one of the filmmakers who worked on the Piranha 3DD making-of featurette. The film finds McEnroe giving a private, hard-hitting lesson to an old friend’s weirdo son, yielding extreme immaturity and silliness. It’s a one joke piece, but that single joke is at least as effective or even better than than any that you’ll find in Piranha 3DD.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.