Monday, June 27, 2011

Piranha

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

Release Date: 2010

Last summer's 3D extravaganza started with a cheeky homage to Jaws with none other than the lead actor, Richard Dreyfuss wearing the same wardrobe from said picture. I kept saying, "We need a bigger boat" in my head throughout the first death scene. Having never seen the original Joe Dante version, I'm interested to see the similarities between the two movies when I finally watch it.


After the absurd death scene, the movie never takes itself seriously as the picture's setting is during Spring Break with numerous unsuspecting victims splashing around in the soon to be uncalm waters.

Enter hard-ass Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue), who learns of the nasty piranhas and warns her son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen) to stay out of the water. However, when he meets Derrick Jones (Jerry O'Connell), producer of "Wild Wild Girls" and ends up on a yacht with love interest, Kelly (Jessica Szhor), avoiding the lake is no longer an option. When their yacht's propellers are stuck in seaweed, upon unraveling, they hit rocks that causes the bottom glass floor to shatter, therefore, allowing piranhas to enter. You know the rest, I don't have to go any further.

A campy and over the top movie by all means, the performances and actors are perfect for this summer movie. Jerry O'Connell's lean and trim body playing the producer loosely based Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame adds to the picture by providing nice eye candy for the ladies (talk about gratuitous nudity; this movie didn't receive an R rating for nothing). I was surprised at his appearance in this movie but hey, he has babies' mouths to feed too; I'm not hatin' on him. The ubiquitous Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon does what he knows how to do best - kick some piranha ass as much as he can (before, you know, the obvious happens). Christopher Lloyd in his best non-Doc but has the tonal inflections of Doc (maybe that's just how Christopher Lloyd just speaks?) role of Mr. Goodman who knows about fish (his occupation is briefly mentioned upon his introduction in the picture but is forgotten when the movie cuts to the piranhas feeding) provides the audience with origin information. Additionally, I have to give a shout to Adam Scott for becoming "that guy" in so many movies that you recognize. Having been a child of the nineties, I recognize him from a little show on ABC's TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Friday) lineup, Boy Meets World. So I'm glad he's comin' up, Mr. Adam Scott. His role was impertinent in aiding Sheriff Forester kick some piranha ass! Mr. Scott has paid his dues; he'll be on his way to becoming a leading man soon. And finally, without revealing his identity for those who have not seen the picture yet, there's a cameo of a well-known horror director (a memorable moment) playing that Spring Break guy. The best part of this cheeky film? The banner on the floating stage which reads, "Dying to Get Wet." Very cheesetastic but so very amusing and chuckle worthy.

Before getting to goretastic effects, I gotta give another shout out to the grandson of Steven McQueen. Yes, little Jake Forester is Steve McQueen's family. I didn't want to assume due to the namesake but this information is true. This isn't Steven R. McQueen's film debut as he is known to most tween audiences for his role on The Vampire Diaries on the CW which clearly indicates the audience for this picture. Not to mention his love interest who also has a prominent role on Gossip Girls, another show on the same network. Can you say resurgence of teen movies ala nineties? Yes, indeed. The actors weren't very memorable but their roles were purposeful which is why their existence in the picture wasn't bothersome.

Headed by Greg Nicotero, the makeup master on the phenomenal zombie series The Walking Dead (see my post on the show here), the special effects team did a great job on look of the guts, the bones, and the blood. The death scenes and gnashing by the piranhas were amazing! Nicotero made all those wounds extremely realistic and gory, that bloodhounds will enjoy every moment; I sure did.

Watch this picture with friends, have very low expectations and make the viewing experience into a drinking game. Drink every time a piranha shows up on screen, the water turns crimson, there's gratuitous nudity, and of course, they feed. This will make the movie that much more enjoyable since it's very campy.

Check out the picture; you'll have a grand ol' bloody good time!