John Gulager’s sequel to Alexandre Aja’s remake of Scott P. Levy’s remake of Joe Dante’s original Piranha b-movie is not to be confused with James Cameron’s sequel, Piranha II. Got it? Me neither.
For some reason, the killer fish convention just keeps coming back. Only, each movie increases its use of the Flailing Breast shot and seemingly embraces cinematic advance alongside the passing of time… hence the title of the latest movie… 3DD! (- by far the biggest achievement in the whole film, naturally). So why do filmmakers and, more importantly, cinema-goers continue to relish these naughty nautical slaughter fests? After all, the content of these movies can be broken down into two very simple scenes: drunken spring-break sexy times and blood intensive death, interchanged (actually, when I put it like that, what’s not to like?).
Attack of the Crab Monsters
The convention of the sea monster flick has a long history. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, b-movies were being made as quickly as they were being forgotten. It’s interesting to think that, even though humans have progressed at a rate of knots, we are still terrified by the size of the ocean and its immense authority. The fifties and sixties were saturated with creature features and this was, most likely, a knee-jerk reaction to the post-war state of mind. It was time to divert people’s attention to a new enemy and fictional sea monsters fit the bill. Films like “It Came From Beneath the Sea!” “Attack of the Crab Monsters!” “Horror of the Deep!” and “Night of the Sharks!” were often low budget, low brow and distinctly lacking in the 3DD’s of their modern-day counterparts (both the shameless sexuality and the three dimensions).
And then there was Jaws, a movie that completely turned the tide on the nautical gore-fest and, instead of parodying the death-by-sea-monster narrative, successfully made a generation of film-goers scared to go back in the water. A stirring title was replaced with a stirring score, one that has become synonymous with fear and blood loss. Since its release, Jaws has been declared as one of the greatest movies of all time. Quite a feat for a creature feature.
Predators are misunderstood
Jaws defined the Shark Attack movie and effectively established the genre in Hollywood. Since then, many imitations have followed and sequels (unaffiliated with the original film makers, evidently) never trumped the successes of the original. It’s become clear that everyone is doomed if sharks, piranhas, killer crabs or toxic starfish are in town and that sharks are (or so these films would have us believe) unstoppable predators that hunt human flesh and have infinite appetites. They attack unprovoked, target erogenous women in bikinis and are attracted to blood. In fact, only the latter is true. Generally speaking (and to clarify some filmic myths), ocean predators are harmless to humans. Only 4 out of 360 species of shark have been linked to fatalities and, contrary to popular belief, piranhas cannot strip a body to the bone and do not chow down on anything that happens to be in or around their waters, so there, that’s your b-movie conceptions dashed to pieces.
Even so, according to Piranha 3DD, these furious fish will stealthily hide inside ladies, patient in their understanding of human procreation. This inspired augmentation of reality is really quite extreme, and yet, I’m quite sure that those enjoying this movie really aren’t bothered by gratuitous misinformation.
Supposedly, an accepted rule in cinema is that self-aware silliness can be used as a ‘Get out of Jail Free Card’ for crass nonsense, provided it’s self-aware. However, absolutely nothing can save Piranha 3DD from tepid misogyny or bad filmmaking. It’s the kind of brainless noise that would offend the intelligence of a lobotomised alpaca and it’s certainly not authentic enough to be granted the grindhouse excuses of Alexandre Aja’s adaptation. Yes, it is an exploitation film that relies heavily on sensationalism, naked women and gore, but it’s by no means self- cognizant or even remotely engaging. Instead, it lingers in the bloody shallows of films before it and will probably go down as the worst reworking of a creature feature to date. Though, of course, it will be preceded. The genre’s just too entertaining to disregard.
In celebration of the brilliant b-movie (and in commiseration of the release of Piranha 3DD) Direct Ferries have sponsored a competition whereby one lucky winner will become the proud owner of a 10 disc Creature Feature Box Set! Titles include: Shark Attack, Crocodile, Spiders and Creature – including all of their sequels. Mega!
To enter, simply: Come up with an original and imaginative b-movie title (e.g. Attack of the Hormonal Girlfriend!).
Go wild. Be creative. Have fun.
Write your answer using the form below – You have one week, good luck!
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
The small print:
- Open to UK residents only
- Only one entry per household will be counted
- The competition will close 25th June at 23.59 GMT
- The winner will be picked at random from entries received
- No cash alternative is available
The usual T&Cs can be found here. Good Luck!