I very much wanted to start this review with a whole bit about the progression of cinema over the years ultimately culminating in the achievement of Piranha 3D but there's little point in making fun of this movie for its inherent shitness. It knows it already and doesn't seem to care. But outside of its obvious sense of irony and the glee it takes in its many, many gory killings, it played its story almost too straight, and is suffocatingly anchored down by the blandest, dullest, most badly acted teenage lead I can remember, not only this but he's an entirely humorless presence and his coming of age storyline is played pretty much straight. Steven R. McQueen, you officially killed my Piranha 3D buzz.
What makes the decision to focus on him all the more garish is that in this cast we have Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss and many more. All reduced to cameos and badly written bit parts. Still, the movie finds its feet once the blood starts spilling, and the big massacre beach sequence is very well-executed by director Alexandre Aja, who is a very strong horror movie director and generally brings a lot of style to the various decapitations, losing of limbs and Piranha attacks. The most awesome thing about Piranha 3D though, is that it gets stolen by Jerry O' Connell. Jerry 'Kangaroo Jack' O Connell. Jerry' Mission To Mars' O Connell. I wouldn't believe it myself but it happened, so in my face. Playing the sleazy, coke-snorting director of the girls gone wild video obviously shooting when the Piranha's attack and he's very entertaining and self-effacing. I also enjoyed Party Down's Adam Scott as a seismologist badass, although he didn't get as much to do as I would have liked. Shue is serviceable as the female sheriff, and Dreyfuss' cameo is probably the most inspired moment of the movie. Jaws references are everywhere, from Dreyfuss himself to the use of the infamous dolly zoom. Even the beach attack bares much resemblance.
Its old school in its attitudes, as all sexual beings, and to be honest mostly the female sexual beings, are punished for their ungodliness, with many, many women dying of Piranha to crotch attacks. I found this a little tiresome after a while to be honest, and for a horror movie to be so anti-sex, ironic given how much flesh it displays, is a little old hat. Even Kelly Brook, whose character is probably the nicest in the movie, has to die horribly because she lets Jerry O Connell point a camera at her boobs. Otherwise she's a near saintly human being, but no. I consider myself a horror fan, but not really a horror apologist. I'm not quite ready to offer the all is forgiven amnesty a few have given to this movie because of its creative and very well-executed scenes of gore. Too much else is wrong with it, most potently the irritating teenagers and pseudo teenage romance at its center. Surely Piranha 3D had better things to do with its time. But its yet another movie in 2010 subject us to a wafer thin and corrosive high-school sweetheart fantasy subplot that nobody cares about. Still, thanks to Aja, the film is a little better then it had any right to be, Jerry O' Connell is awesome and Eli Roth is in it for less then a minute and gets his head squished. Score.