Lake Victoria is a small town somewhere in the desert that depends on tourism from the Spring Break crowd to survive each year. When a small earthquake breaks open an underwater cavern beneath the lake, the locals and visitors find themselves the prey of prehistoric fish with extra pointy teeth. Not only are all Spring Breakers in trouble, but the sheriff’s kids are also in a tight spot when their boat begins to sink into the now deadly water.
The cast was excellent in PIRAHNA 3D, only because they didn’t take themselves seriously and totally understood how over the top the screenplay was. Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames play the sheriff and deputy who are trying to keep all the tourists safe, Christopher Lloyd plays a local fish aficionado (who also happens to know about local prehistoric fish) and Jerry O’Connell plays a director/producer of a pornography company that is shooting a Spring Break special. All of the actors do well considering what they have to work with and it’s great that they are willing to do these kinds of films. We even get a Richard Dreyfuss cameo ala Drew Barrymore in SCREAM.
I’m sure you’ve guessed that this film is chalk full of cheese and campy to the extreme, what you may not have known is that this movie got it’s “R” rating due to excessive nudity as opposed to gruesome piranha attack scenes (although those are in there as well). However, the 3D effects were not as fully utilized as it should have been. With all the 3D films coming out, it would have made perfect sense to have many, many scenes where the piranha or body parts are swimming at the screen but there was hardly anything. Of all the problems with this film, lack of 3D is by far and away the worst. There was a perfect opportunity for the 3D gimmick and they just let it slide. Hopefully, they will redeem themselves when they make PIRANHA 3D:THE SEQUEL (and yes, that is coming in 2012).
Of course, the plot was also absurd, but what did you expect? The plot is completely formulaic and over the top but completely fun to watch unfold anyway. For instance, how did these two million prehistoric fish survive this long without having any other fish to prey on–cannibalism , of course! And what kind of campy horror film would this be if you didn’t have the obligatory feeding frenzy that was gratuitous and went on way longer than expected. This is all part of the charm of PIRANHA 3D and what makes it a great ride.
Overall, this film was just a fun watch and a great flick to catch with a couple of friends. I don’t think I would ever watch it again because it was so bad, but it was so bad that it was good. If anything, this film made me especially happy and grateful that I was a nerd in high school and never went on a crazy Spring Break at the lake, it just doesn’t seem to end well.