October Horrorshow: Piranha 3D

It’s October, when calm nights are suddenly pierced by screams, unseen malevolent presences terrorize entire families, crazed masked murderers stalk virginal teenagers, and Missile Test celebrates all that is evil in the world with the October Horrorshow, a month’s worth of horror film reviews. A good horror film? We’ll watch it. A bad horror film? Bring it on. An absolutely putrid pile dog shit that had no business being produced at all? Yep, we’ll delve into those, too. Because the only thing that matters during the October Horrorshow is that there’s blood. And today’s selection has plenty of that, and not much else worth watching.

My expectations for Piranha 3D were low. It was clear even before viewing that the filmmakers had no intention of making a decent film, but were instead going to pay homage to the ridiculousness of the movie’s progenitor, from way back in the 1970s. And that was fine. Schlock is fun, especially when the filmmakers don’t take themselves too seriously. But what happens when the filmmakers are conscious of schlock as an exploitable genre, one that can be reduced to tits, gore, and plot plagiarism — one where the filmmakers seem convinced that their target audience has no taste, style, class, or intelligence?

This movie even begins with little promise, featuring a scene with Richard Dreyfuss referencing his role from Jaws, poorly. No mind, however. Dreyfuss donated his pay to charity. From this opening, the movie merely stagnates, its grindhouse genre references and gratuitous nudity failing to disguise the fact that it’s just a damned uninteresting film. It’s not even the premise that I mind. Plenty of other filmmakers have made far more outlandish material work.

Underneath Lake Victoria, Arizona, an earthquake has opened up a fissure to a previously unknown and unexplored underground lake. This hidden lake had held back a species of prehistoric flesh-eating fish, but now that they have access to the waters above, they are set to wreak havoc on all the partygoers in town for spring break.

About halfway into the movie the fish make their way to the wet t-shirt contest, and that is when all hell breaks loose. The cascade of gore in this scene is quite impressive, but it’s also purposeless. It’s better than being subjected to torture-porn, thank goodness. The movie does manage to be lighthearted about blood and guts, but the problem is the joke isn’t all that funny. There’s just no natural flow at all to the movie. It all feels forced, like we’re supposed to get it. It feels like watching a clown. Clowns aren’t funny. They’re just supposed to be. It felt odd at first to compare a bloody horror flick to a clown, but that’s just how sad this movie is.

Alien: Resurrection was more mean-spirited than this movie, but it was better.