We had to drive down to Hollywood to see this on a big screen in 3DD. That means a seventy five mile round trip, $12 for parking and a premium price for the tickets. Totally worth it. I have an extreme weakness for bad movies with fun ideas, even if they are not well made. My criteria is simple here: One, does the premise turn me on, two, are there some good bits of humor, and three, do the film makers know they are making a joke. If you can meet those requirements, you are most of the way to a successful couple of hours at the movies for me on a Saturday afternoon.
So we start with the premise, Piranha in a waterpark. Oh yea, I forgot, an Adult themed water park. What is there not to like about this? Now, if the film makers had had the effects budget of the first Piranha from a couple of years ago, this would totally have rocked the gore house. Unfortunately, there must have been a very tight budget on this because there are not as many inventive deaths as the setting demands. In the first movie, a para-sailing girl gets eaten from the waist down when her boat slowed down enough to let her dip in the water. There was nothing half as inventive in this movie. There should have been piranha shooting out of water slides and tunnels, or tossed in the air by waves in the wave pool. Heck, I would think anyone could imagine the scene with kids coming out of the wading pool on the stumps of their legs after having their feet bitten off. As I said, the budget was way too low for this film. Most of the gruesome images are static and many of the corpses looked like they might have been recycled. So while the gore factor was a let down, there were still a couple of very effective deaths that got a rise out of the audience. With sequels you go one of two ways, bigger to get more butts in the seats or cheaper to make the profit margins per butt a bit higher. They chose to go cheaper because the original was not as financially successful as they might have wanted.
Next, are there some good laughs? While the idea of a water park with an Adult section might seem far fetched to some, I think it is the next big attraction at some casino in Vegas. They should definitely steal the idea from this movie to get strippers for lifeguards. Excuse me, water certified strippers, my mistake. There was not as much fun from this as there should have been, the stupid story keeps getting in the way of the random nudity and the chance for crude jokes. There is however at least one line of dialogue that will live in the annals of my movie history. I can’t repeat it here, because it would ruin a gag in the movie and I hate when that happens. Let me just say it is a sentence I will never forget. There are also several duds spread out through the film, for instance, the homely fat guy having sex with the water exhaust port was just contrived, lame and unfunny. He does get a good visual joke later but it is not the one you might expect.
Third, does the movie know that it is not supposed to take itself seriously? This movie absolutely knows that it is crap and it takes advantage of that in several places. In the opening, there is a cameo appearance by an actor that is simply a joke whenever his name comes up now a days. We get a return by Ving Rhames in the part of the Sheriff from the first movie, missing his legs and afraid of the water. But when the mayhem starts and he straps on his shotgun loaded titanium prosthetic legs, you know that no one is really trying to make art here. They are clowning for the camera. Featured star David Hasselhoff as much as says so when he mutters to himself about his stint as guest lifeguard “bottom of the barrel”. The money spent to get him in the picture was worth it for the humor quotient although it may have cost them on the gore side of the scale. He mocks himself, the premise of the movie and his own fame and it still is a lot of fun.
This movie is available as Video on Demand, and it is only playing on around 80 theaters in the country. I am ashamed of myself for liking crap like this, but not so ashamed that I won’t share my glee with others. I saw several very negative reviews of the movie and most of them compared it unfavorably to the first movie and to the original from back in the 1980s. My guess is that these people only give the others praise so that they can dump on this one. Go ahead, make a joke of the movie. Thirty of us who saw it today in Hollywood laughed and jumped a couple of times, and then we slunk out of the theater with our heads down. Yep, a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure none the less.