Whereas the first Piranha 3D movie was directed by Alexandre Aja, the creator of the powerful Haute Tension and the worthy The Hills Have Eyes remake in 2006, Piranha 3DD is directed by John Gulager, a director with little more to his credit than the Feast trilogy (which remains unseen by most).
Aja is a cinematic auteur with penchant for extremism and postmodernist elements within his movies. Gulager makes tack.
This is the main, but far from the only, problem which exists in Piranha 3DD. In the 2010 version there was, indeed, a sense of extreme ridiculousness, but it was delivered in a wry and slightly acerbic manner. Aja was not only able to glorify and revel in the excesses of the horror and exploitation genres, accentuating everything from severed penises to lesbian underwater love scenes in glorious HD 3D, but also to poke fun at the very same characteristics of the film in the manner of which they were presented.
There isn’t really anything clever to say about Piranha 3DD. It’s as if the DD stands for Dumbed Down as opposed to the (not all that) clever play on bra sizes which it is supposed to represent. Every excuse in the book is used to throw as many things as the screen as possible. In the most part, these are breasts, CGI fish and recently removed pieces of people. There is a back of a napkin plot which is as openly visible and easy to follow as a child’s board game. I will not, however, resort to nitpicking as this is hardly a movie meant for intellectualizing upon. The main thing that people will want to know about Piranha 3DD is ‘Is it any good at all?’
The answer is ‘Surprisingly so’. Even with the lack of tone or any admirable filmmaking qualities, it remains an incredibly stupid, but also marginally entertaining picture. This is helped greatly by the addition of Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff and Ving Rhames, who all turn in exceptionally daft cameos, but in doing so drag the film out of the ‘unwatchable’ category. David Koechner (Champ in Anchorman) plays the same role that he always plays, but it will be a while before audiences get tired of it, for he does it well.
One highly amusing (and admittedly, creative) scene involves a young man finding that the end of his penis has become attached to a piranha which was hiding inside his girlfriend. This moment of post coital-terror is played for laughs and certainly manages to extract them. There is no reason why I would encourage you not to see this movie as it is clearly evident what should be expected from it. I just hope that they leave it here and don’t try to elongate the franchise.