Alexandre Aja’s “Piranha 3D” is a trash movie that understood what it was and joyously reveled in its ridiculous garbage vibe.
It was a remake with roots in B-movie cheapies, as it comes from the sans-3D Roger Corman/Joe Dante “Jaws” parody of the same name (or rip-off, depending on who you ask).
John Gulager’s sequel, “Piranha 3DD,” attempts to amp-up the trashy fun but ends up being joylessly sleazy. Like the unfortunate “Jaws 3D,” “Piranha 3DD” takes its seaborn terror to a water park instead of a beach.
David Koechner plays the scumbag park owner who recently added a more adult-vibe to the place (an excuse for some extra bland nudity), much to the chagrin of his step-daughter (Danielle Panabaker). After that bloodthirsty swarm of pre-historic piranha start attacking people in the nearby lake, it becomes apparent that they could easily make their way into the water park through the drainage system. This of course coincides with opening day, where German icon David Hasselhoff himself is acting as lifeguard.
3D has always been best when applied to B-movie material, but it brings little joy to the table here. The sight of Gary Busey biting the head off of a baby piranha and spitting it toward the camera is the stuff goofball 3D gags are made of, yet most of “3DD” is more interested in 3D bubbles and underwater plants that poke out at the audience.
The people who populate this movie are your usual cookie-cutter twenty-somethings with massive breasts and cut abs. No one here is as eye-popping as Kelly Brook or as enjoyable as Adam Scott from the first film. The returning presence of Christopher Lloyd and a fun bit with Ving Rhames brings some welcome personality into the mix, and the gags with the Hoff are mildly amusing (specifically a fun take on the reverse-zoom moment from “Jaws”).
But it’s only a dash of salty pleasure in a smirking horror film that, at its worst moments, is about as appealing as licking the sticky stage floor of a strip club.
“Piranha 3DD” is a movie that should be funny, R-rated, guts-n’-girls fun, but it crosses the line from silly to seedy. Many will say “lighten up,” Lord knows I did when the last one came out, but passes aren’t given for serving naked flesh n’ spilt blood to the audience while merely giving us a wink. We need some flavor and some garnish on there as well.
“Piranha 3D” is also available now via Video on Demand services like iTunes, Amazon and, for the first time, Facebook.