Likely, you are like us and have seen an absurd number of horror movies. There comes a point in every Video Junkie's life where horror films cease to be really scary, and we look back fondly on the days that they were. Remember the first time you saw PHANTASM? Yeah, then you know what I mean. The exception to this sad phenomena of jadedness, at least for me, is the aquatic horror film. When I was a kid, about four or five, I almost drowned. If some random, reasonably athletic, guy hadn't been walking by as I was desperately trying to grow gills, this blog would be titled "Feast Your Eyes" and be written entirely by my colleague from the Williamsburg Colony. I hope, where ever that random, reasonably athletic man is, he appreciates this simple fact.
I'm pretty sure this experience gave me a justifiable fear of water, compounded by the, what I believe to be, completely rational fear of things that live in it. The point being, aquatic horror movies still have the power to ruin my sofa cushions. Things in the water look freaky and even the most hack filmmaker can stick a shark in the camera lens and make an audience recoil in their seats. Even rubber, toothy aquatic lifeforms can dig at that primal instinct to cut and run. For some reason that no psychologist can really adequately explain, this means fun! So where did this movie go so terribly wrong?
One long, undercranked pop-music filled road montage later, the group meets up with a couple of local hicks while buying likker at a bait shop. Since they are edgee-cayted city folk, this can only go in one direction. Down. One of the hicks, Dennis (Chris Carmack), has a nasty scar on his face from a boating accident and apparently has some history with Sara. Obviously this will not figure into the plot in any way after this moment. Nope, not at all. The other yokel is Red (Joshua Leonard), who has his teeth filed to a point like a... well, shark. In addion to his fetching looks, he is quite the charmer and calls Malek "boy". Yeah, nothing suspicious there, cue next undercranked pop-music montage!
If nothing else, first time feature writers, Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg know their cliches and aren't afraid to hit them with a 20lb sledge. They are very careful to only borrow the lame parts of established classics. For instance we have just the lame ethnically diverse cast, seemingly from a FRIDAY THE 13th movie, but none of the creative elements, atmosphere, gore or nudity. They add a dog to the mix early on so that when the villains are mean to it, we know they are bad, bad men. Never mind that they are throwing people into shark infested waters, that poor dog! They hit the cliches, but they can't even exploit the three simple ideas presented by the film's title. There are barely any sharks, it takes place almost entirely during the day and it's mostly in 2D! Talk about half-assing your concept.
PIRANHA 3D with a PG-13 rating. This means we get the crassest dialogue that money can buy, but yet could still be printed in a family newspaper, plus several scenes of hot chicks getting topless with their backs to the camera or underwater with the camera firmly above water. This actually gets pretty funny watching the filmmakers dancing on the head of a pin. They are desperately trying to be wild, but only able to be mild. Matter of fact, it feels more restrained than a Sy-Fy outing, in as that there is nothing more offensive than bare man-ass. This is shown as one of the girls is seen taking a life-model art class. Equal time with some of the chicas? Nope, can't have that. Didn't JAWS (1975) have nudity in a PG rated film? Oh yeah, that was Spielberg. Sorry, I forgot how the rating system works. Of course my frivolous complaints about neutered "edgy" content aside, this movie still has absolutely nothing going for it, and honestly I wasn't being too demanding.