out of Five
Running time: 83
Poorly directed, shockingly edited and badly written sequel to 2010's Piranha 3D that mistakenly attempts to turn the franchise into a gross-out horror comedy and loses sight of everything that made the previous film work in the process.
What's it all about?
Directed by John Gulager, Piranha 3DD is the sequel to 2010's Piranha 3D, which turned out to be something of a guilty pleasure. This time round, Danielle Panabaker stars as marine biology student Maddy, who returns home to discover her sleazy step-father Chet (David Koechner) has made several unwelcome additions to the family water park, including replacing all the lifeguards with “water certified”
strippers and illegally filling the pool from an underground well.
When Maddy and her smitten friend Barry (Matt Bush) discover that deadly piranha are entering the pool system through the well pipes, they try to get the park shut down, but they're too late and the nibbly little blighters are soon chewing their way through various topless ladies. Meanwhile, David Hasselhoff (as himself) shows up at the park for a promotional appearance and legless Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames, reprising his role from the first film) chooses the wrong day to try and get over his fear of water.
The biggest problem is that the filmmakers obviously spent more time hiring and ogling topless models than they did on things like script, direction, editing, structure, special effects or joke construction. The production values are extremely low and the script lacks any of the wit or imagination that went into the 2010 version, instead choosing, unwisely, to turn the whole thing into a depressingly laugh-free gross-out horror comedy (sample scenes – SPOILER ALERT - include: a 3D vomit moment, a bit where a piranha gets inside a fat guy's ass and a bit where a piranha swims up a girl's vagina and then eats a guy's penis during sex).
On top of that, the structure and editing are so poor (even within the extremely simple 'piranha attack water park' set-up) that the various characters barely even interact (Rhames doesn't appear with a single other cast member) and there's no sense of build-up or tension. Even the film's few set-pieces - which look good on paper and might have worked with another director – are badly directed, missing opportunities for both laughs, shocks and gore.
More than anything else, the film has no sense of the rules of the genre, as evidenced by the fact that although several of the main characters die, none of them are actually eaten by piranhas. Similarly, the filmmakers fail to realise that just casting the Hoff as himself isn't enough, since the audience are going to expect him to have to tackle a piranha or two at some point.
Piranha 3DD is a disappointing sequel that lacks the biting wit of the 2010 film. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen all the good bits. Avoid like a piranha-infested swimming pool.