Friday, 27 January 2012

Piranha (2010) - A 2D Review and a Rant About Post-Conversion 3D

Tits and arses tits and arses tits and arses and a little bit of bush! Oh sorry, yeah right this is a review of ‘Piranha’ (2010) and not of ‘Piranha 3D’ (2010) the remake of the Roger Corman produced and Joe Dante directed original from 1978. I am a British expat living in Thailand and I had the good fortune to go see this movie upon its release in how it was actually filmed due to a wide 2D distribution here. I did not have to be ripped off by the studio that was too cheap to do it properly by actually shooting it in 3D. Dimension you are as the Thais would say “Cheap Charlies”.


Post-conversion 3D (the 3D effects added to film in post-production) is an insulting gimmick to help add more to the ticket price. There were only minimal openings of a normal 2D version of ‘Piranha’ in its domestic market of the States and in my native homeland. This is just so wrong. Why did Dimension give Thai people the right to choose and not give the same kind of choice to the majority of my readers who had to seek out selected cinemas for a 2D screening? I think it might have something to do with only having a budget of $24 million. The studio really did not have to try hard to sell the movie oversees in non-Western and non-English speaking territories. All you lot are the ones that were ripped off. English speaking countries seemed to be at the top of Dimension’s agenda with just scrapping in a few odd extra million bucks from outside of these nations. 

People with half an ounce of common sense should know that something as fake as this kind of 3D should not be worth the ticket price and the studio knew this. They did not want to give you the choice of going to see it normal or in this shittastic type of 3D. However, common sense prevailed in most cases as the film did not exactly do great guns at the American box office. People were obviously put off by having to pay more who knew more likely than not that they were not going get that extra bang for their buck. Despite the release of a sequel ‘Piranha 3DD’ out in March of this year I think it is fair to say that the movie would have performed better if released in a standard version.

Maybe the studio has learned from this and stopped with all this post-conversion 3D nonsense, which just does not work. They have puts their hands in their pockets for the upcoming follow up which has been filmed in REAL 3D. I have no problem whatsoever paying the extra money for movies that are actually made in the technology as it is worth it for the sheer experience just like James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ (2010). I am glad that Dimension did it properly this time around with the sequel because the first film is a good enough time without the crappy post-converted 3D job.

2D Review

No need for an extensive synopsis here all you need know is that thousands of attractive and very horny teenagers have arrived in Lake Victoria for their annual spring break. It just so happens that an earthquake just previous has opened a chasm in the sea and let out thousands of very hungry prehistoric piranha that were thought to have been extinct two million years ago. So obviously as well as the tons of wet naked female flesh on display there is an even greater deal of bloody gruesome carnage for us to sink our teeth into (pun intended).

I never went into the theatre expecting high art and the filmmakers achieved in what they set out to do by giving the audience 90 minutes of big cheesee dumb fun. It is a horror comedy and a good one at that. It captures all very well the spirit and humour of Dante’s first movie which was itself never supposed to be taken seriously but is a lot wilder and outrageous and is very much its own film with an abundance of laugh out loud moments. Keeping in line as a parody of ‘Jaws’ (1975) just like the original it even has a cameo from Richard Dreyfess as a direct nod to his character Matt Hooper in the said Steven Spielberg blockbuster. The humour works very well here and the writers do well in not letting it corrupt the super gory horror. The kills are created by the excellent SFX work of Howard Berger, Greg Nicotero and assists and are horrific as hell with many stand out and highly memorable set-pieces. The CGI of the piranha fish looks scary in a kind of over the top exaggerated way. The characters are immensely likeable and we care about them. The ensemble cast including Elizabeth Shue as Sheriff Julie Forester, Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon and a hilarious comic turn from Jerry O’Connell as a shitbag porn director are all strong.

There you go I summed up the movie perfectly in one paragraph. This is a good time horror film much like other beer and pizza fright flicks like ‘Fright Night’ (1985), ‘Night of the Demons’ (1988), ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ (1996) etc. It is everything ‘Friday The 13th’ (2009) should have been and was not. Yes, some of the dialogue is dodgy to say the least but it does not matter as it just adds to the enjoyable absurdity of it all. A stupid film of course but if it is what director Alexandre Aja set out to make just for a good laugh then all the power to him. Aja made our sides split and gave us plenty of gob smacking kills. However, I do wish he would return to his native France and give us something entirely original again as it has been nine long years since ‘High Tension’. Obviously, I cannot judge the post-conversion 3D but the movie works just as well without it. A helluva a good time.

*** out of ****

Dave J. Wilson

©2012 Cinematic Shocks, Dave J. Wilson - All work is the property of the credited author and may not be reprinted or reproduced elsewhere without permission.



  1. Thought Pirahna 2010 was hilarious fun. The non-stop gore and nudity was great. Haha. Also love your rant on post-converted 3-D.

    Saw this in 3-D unfortunately, the second i put the glasses on, i got a headache.

    1. Thanks, mate. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

  2. ^ Pirahna 2010 perfectly captures that special horror "fix" that comes from sick humor mixing with bloody horror. And only a few film-makers can cook up that perfect "fix"- to stretch a metaphor to the breaking point...

    And Dave I'm with you in wishing Aja would use his talents on something fresh.

    1. Aja has the adaptation of 'Undying Love' in development. It might not be totally original but at least it's not another remake.