Say what you will about Piranha 3D as a film, but it represented the highest point of the nascent “it’s in 3D” type of horror films that briefly propped up the box office. After that nearly every film trying to make a dent in the box office had 3D in some form, leading to speculation that eventually even prestige pictures like Precious would wind up being in 3D. With the craze here to stay, but not nearly as prevalent, Piranha 3DD and its limited release represent the bottoming out of the “it’s in 3D” horror film craze in both potential box office and quality.
To be blunt, Piranha 3DD isn’t just a bad film for the sake of being bad, which is usually an idiot’s justification for enjoying a poor film that has some camp entertainment value. It’s just a horrible film that’ll make you realize you won’t get the near two hours of your life back that the film encompasses.
Taking place a year after piranhas invaded a Spring Break destination point, the animals have now found their way to a local water park. The park’s sleazy owner (David Koechner) has stocked the place with strippers in hopes of turning it into a franchise adult theme park, much to the chagrin of his step daughter (Danielle Panabaker). But due to his own shenanigans the same piranhas from the first film have found their way onto his opening day, complete with David Hasselhoff (playing himself) making a guest appearance.
From there it’s a bloodbath as everyone tries to survive yet another attack. Which is more less the plot of the first but this one is done significantly cheaper and with a significantly worse cast than the first.
Out of what was a fairly solid cast in the original only Christopher Lloyd, Paul Scheer and Ving Rhames return to comprise their roles for the sequel. And the latter two are only there for what are extended cameo parts; it’s there to remind us that there were survivors from the first film, more or less. Gary Busy shows up for the opening sequence much like Richard Dreyfuss did for the first film, as well, and those tend to be the highlights of this film.
It’s essentially the same film as before but without nearly the same level of talent in the cast or anything worth value. Outside of Panabaker the rest of the cast is virtual unknowns and minor actors. Most were seemingly chosen because of how they looked on camera, as opposed to their actual talents, as this is a film with a cast that looks like it actually was pulled from a high end strip club as opposed to from a base of regular working actors. It gives the film a Netflix only kind of feel as opposed to actually having been put together by as studio.
The first one had some redeeming values, as they were: this one is just a cheaper looking version of the first that exchanges light comedy and plenty of violence with bad comedy and plenty of terrible looking violence.
That’s the main problem with the film: it looks cheap and amateurish. The first one had a terrific look; this one feels like a bigger budgeted fanboy attempt at making a sequel to that film as opposed to a genuine attempt at a sequel. While Lloyd shows up to give us the film’s lone highlight that isn’t the aesthetics of the female form, a welcome relief midway through the film, nothing else about the film isn’t duplicated nearly wholesale from the original.
This is the sort of film you ought to be embarrassed watching and even more embarrassed to be a fan of.
Director: John Gulager Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan and Joel Soisson based on characters created by Pete Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg Notable Cast: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, David Hasselhoff, Christopher Lloyd
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.