Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blu-ray Review: PIRANHA 3DD (2012)

PIRANHA 3DD (2012)
3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy 

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment 
Duration: 83 Minutes
Rating: R
Video: 16x9 Widescreem (1.78:1)
Audio: 5.1 DTS- HD MA, 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1 
Director: John Gulager
Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush, David Koechner, Chris Zylka, Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff, Clu Gulager 
Tagline: Double the Action. Double the Terror. Double the D's

The Film: Water Park. Piranhas. A Lot of Tits. What else do you need to know about this film - with that trifecta of info you are either on-board or put-off from the get-go and I for one am definitely on-board for this trashy nugget of bad cinema. The sequel to the Alexandre Aja (High Tension) 2010 remake is helmed by John Gulager whom previously directed the splatter-comedy Feast (2005) and it's two sequels. The making of Feast was chronicled on the 3rd season of Bravo's Project Greenlight of which I caught a few episodes of and fell in love with it mainly because of the curmudgeonly presence of John's genre-stalwart father - the legendary Clu Gulager of The Initiation (1984), The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Dead (1985), and The Hidden (1987) among numerous 80's TV shows - the guy was a right bastard on the set and it made for a fun watch, not to mention he was pretty great in the role of the surly bartender in Feast. The film was fun stuff, irreverently funny and blood-soaked - it was a fun effort from a first time director and while I think the sequels were definitely a classic case of diminishing returns I was still excited when Gulager was announced as the director - it just seemed a good fit if a little surprising that Universal were willing to let him run wild with 20 million dollars. 

The film takes place 5 months after the events in Aja's Piranha (2010) where the pre-historic nibblers decimated the drunken spring breakers at Lake Victoria. We start with another pre-credit sequence with cameos from the clearly insane Gary Busey (Buddy Holly) and the cantankerous aforementioned Clu Gulager (The Initiation) whom are trying to retrieve a bloated cow carcass from a lake. It's an appropriate start to the film with a flaming cow fart that unleashes a horde of  toothy-nibblers that make quick work of the two men. Busey has a particularly cheese-tastic 3D moment that leads into the opening credits - and even though I did not watch the film in 3D I could appreciate the third dimension queso the film offers - I really need a 3D TV.

From here we are introduced to the character of Chet played by the ever-funny David Koechner (Anchorman) the douche-nozzle propeitor of the water park The Big Wet One, "the hottest hole in town "where Double-D's swim free". It's the start of a new season and Chet's introduced  an adult's only pool with an underwater "cooch-cam" complete with a private personal conduct center - not sure what that is but it sounds unsanitary but Chet assure's his minority partner in the park, his step-daughter Maddie (Danielle Pannanaker, The Crazies), that a little extra chlorine in the pool will make everything better, ewww. Maddie's a marine biology major (of course) just home from college for the summer and not too pleased with Chet's renovations or that he replaced the regular lifeguards with water-certified strippers but she tries to make the most of it hanging with her former high-school classmates: the blonde virgin Shelby (Katriona Bowden, Tucker and Dale Vs Evil), her boyfriend Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Trick 'r Treat), black hottie Ashley (Meagan Tandy, TV's Jane By Design) and her dim-witted beau Travis (Paul James Jordan, TV's Bunheads). Also on hand are Barry (Matt Bush, Adventureland) as the guy who's had a crush on Maddie since high school but just never made the move and has been relegated to the friend-zone, mr. nice guy - y'know - the place you just don't wanna be ever as a young man. Also rounding out the cast of young and attractive new faces is Maddie's ex Kyle (Chris Zylka, The Amazing Spider-Man) who's plays a great asshole, one of those so-good-looking-guys you love to hate and his character just loves to rub it in Barry's face that he could have Maddie at anytime, it's painful to watch as a guy who just didn't make the move and was in the friend-zone so many times throughout high-school, painful I tell you. Kyle is also deputy on the local police force and his character is involved in some shady dealings with douche-nozzle Chet involving a bootleg water well that proves to be the piranha's entry into the water park.  One other character worth mentioning (or not) is Big Dave (Adrian Martinez, Kick-Ass) a horny-stoner park employee with a proclivity for fucking the water-jets in the park - he's a really throw-away character but he did illicit a low-brow chuckle or two. 

Most will be pleased to see Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) return as does Ving Rhames (Dawn of the Dead) and Paul Scheer (Upright Citizen's Brigade) from the first film, fun cameos, especially Rhames  who returns with a fear of water and titanium legs having had his eaten-off in the previous entry, this time we get a sweet Planet Terror-esque twist, too - very fun.  Speaking of fun, David Hasselhoff is awesome here riffing on his own cheesiness and d-list celebrity, the guy is just eating it up and it's awesome. While I've never seen an episode of 90's cheese-fest Baywatch I will forever love this man for his involvement with the 80's awesomeness that was  Knightrider - hands down my favorite adolescent TV show alongside The Greatest American Hero

The kills start-up pretty quick but I guess they sorta have to when the film is only 82 minutes long and twelve minutes of that is end credits and outtakes. The deaths are some of my biggest beef with this film, they're not particularly creative and/or well-executed - the Alexandre Aja film definitely bests this one in the gore and creativity department. The tits are ramped up here but the blood n' guts are severely lacking and left me wanting. There's tons of bad taste though from start to finish - we get the water-jet humping, stomping in a pool of puke, a cock severance scene and even a piranha entering a women vagina -  but I wanted more in the gore department and the camera really pulled away when it counted. 

The look of the piranha were a mixed-bag too, at times it looked great, you could tell they were using physical props to great effect but the digital effects were cheap and just awful looking, a better marriage of the two could have gone a long way but it was done relatively cheap which is no to say the film is unattractive - this is a pretty slick looking production with great high-definition cinematography, not arty but candy-colored and well done. The underwater cinematography was particularly sweet looking, more so than even the previous Aja film. Other nice touches include a sweet A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) dream sequence/homage in the bathtub and the aforementioned dick-capitation that really smacked of Teeth (2007) - there's some fun stuff here. Gulager may not be a director with great aspiration but it's pretty clear he knows and loves the horror genre, I wanna see more from him. 

The ending of the film is pretty bat-shit nuts and not in a particularly great way either - it's insane if a bit uninspired and it falls a bit flat right down to the unnecessary death of a child which I will admit I rather enjoyed but I love bad cinema which this most assuredly is bad cinema right down to the ridiculous slo-mo rain of piranha and rubber balls - but remember this is a film began with flaming cow flatulence - what were you expecting, if you weren't anticipating a decapitated head motor-boating enormous blood-soaked boobies, guess what,  you guessed wrong. 

Blu-ray: Anchor Bay Entertainment offer up a solid looking 1080p experience - the naked chics here look fantastic! The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sounds great with some nice use of the surrounds. We get a healthy array of extras - none of which are essential viewing in my opinion but the Busey outtakes are fun, he's a bit of a nut that guy. There's a commentary, some featurettes with Hoff, Koechner, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and an odd short film starring tennis-great John McEnroe which I cannot for the life of me understand why it is on here - it's funny but seems really random as a feature on this set. This set comes with a 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy so you can pretty much watch this anywhere and anytime you want. 

Special Features:
- The Story Behind the DD (7:44) 16x9 
- The Hofftastic World of David Hasselhoff (2:09) 16x9 
- Busey’s Bloopers (2:04) 16x9 
- Wet and Wild with David Koechner (1:37) 16x9 
- Deleted Scenes (2:34) 16x9 
- Filmmakers Feature Commentary 
- "A Lesson with John McEnroe" – A Dimension Short Film (3:53) 16x9 
- Trailers: Scre4m (2:30), Zombie Diaries 2 (1:31), Piranha App (0:57)

Verdict: Like kindred-spirit Jaws 3D you go into this expecting some major cheesiness and on that level it doesn't disappoint, it's chock full o' tits, bad taste and some ripe cinema fromage that really stinks up the place. It's not a good film, it's trashy and in very poor taste but I enjoyed it for what it was - big, dumb fun... with a lot of titties. If you enjoyed Cabin fever 2: Spring Fever (2009) or Gulager's Feast (2005) there's something here for you to enjoy if you love bad cinema.  2.5 outta