Film Review: Piranha 3DD (2012)


I like to think that my tastes, for the most part, are broad and well-rounded. Yeah, I’m in a very deep and meaningful relationship with the horror genre, but we’re only monogamish; I also tend to gravitate toward any documentary I can get my hands on, any solid drama, any brainy comedy. While I’ve tried to build a discerning palate, I’ll pretty much watch anything you’ll throw at me and try to find something within it to enjoy (with the exception of most Adam Sandler movies. I just don’t like that guy). But oh, my freaky friends, even with all the cerebral media I’m constantly cramming into my mind-hole in an effort to nurture my remaining brain cells, I have to say that there is, and always will be, a special corner of my rotting heart reserved for the lowest common denominator. What can I say? I like a good bad movie. I love a well-done dick joke. When the two are combined, I’m sold forever, and as movies like those always do, Piranha 3DD came into my world and pushed that love-button just right.

After a cursory look around the world wide web, it seems that I am one of the very few people who enjoyed this movie (aside from my husband, who will freely admit he’s far more depraved than I). Apparently we’re wrong, though, because the internet says Piranha 3DD is a “sleazy,” “crude,” “trashy” “failure”.

I loved it.

The thing is, why would anyone go into this movie expecting Jaws? It’s not ambitious; hell, it’s really not even trying to be “good.” But it is exactly what it set out to be – cheap, smutty entertainment – and that’s where it worked for me in spades. It’s a popcorn movie, guys, and I know that there is still a spot in the heart of the collective moviegoer for stuff like this. People are flocking to see the Katy Perry movie, for fuck’s sake, and the FOURTH Step Up movie. Seriously. The first three weren’t enough? No way will anyone ever convince me that Piranha 3DD is any worse than either of those. I will not be swayed. I demand satisfaction!


Getting down to the nitty-gritty, the film is set in a town located near the site of the havoc wreaked in Piranha 3D (which, incidentally, I also loved, and was privileged enough to see in actual 3D, in an empty theatre, with my best guy – I can’t think of a better date). So we get an introduction to the madness when two gentlemen (the insane Gary Busey and the legendary – equally insane – Clu Gulager) wade into the depths of a lake to recover the carcass of a dead cow, which they of course begin to poke at, like you do. Little do they know, eggs have been laid inside said cow, and all of the poking results in piranha-egg-farts that release the bitey bastards from their bovine womb. Obviously, one of the more prolific farts is ignited, and obviously, there’s an explosion, after which the newly-hatched fish feast on the two men, stirring up their hunger for human flesh. So with that, the piranha are back, having “traveled through underground lakes” to The Big Wet (yeah), a water park run by Chet (the perfectly smarmy David Koechner) and requisite prettygirl Maddy (Danielle Panabaker).

There’s some stuff about ownership of the water park to create a little tension, the appearance of Maddy’s ex-boyfriend on the scene, and some budding romances between Maddy’s friends, all of which are the framework for a tight 70 minutes of snapping jaws, chunks of flesh, and increasingly huge breasts. 3DD really raises the stakes, as they were set so high with all the ten-minute-underwater-lesbian-makeouts and the endearing severed-CGI-penis-cams of the first installment; here we are treated to a great many females in their full-frontal birthday suits (and quite a few questionable shots involving definite labia). The pièce de résistance of this skin-fest occurs about halfway through, when an ailing Shelby (played by the likeable Katrina Bowden of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil fame), at her most vulnerable, pleads with a set of abs named Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) to please take her virginity. When he obliges, they learn that the thing making Shelby so sick was a piranha that swam up her during an earlier skinny-dip. The piranha, obviously annoyed by all the poking at its entrance-hole, clamps down on the unsuspecting rube and holds on for dear life, forcing him to finally pull out, affixed piranha and all. For reasons only the dark lord knows, he decides the way to remove it is not to stab the fish, but instead to cut off the dick to which the fish is attached. Buckets of blood lead an “I’m feeling better now” Shelby to her man, and she finds him, bleeding, with his detached erection in extreme close-up on the floor. A little something for the ladies!


After all the dick-hacking, it’s time to save the water park from the piranhas, who got in when crooked Chet decided to cut costs by pumping in water from the aforementioned underground lakes instead of just, you know, paying his utility bills. Luckily, David Hasselhoff is on the scene, only to realize too late that Baywatch wasn’t much help in the way of lifeguard training. We also get a nice reappearance from Ving Rhames, having replaced his amputated legs with TITANIUM SHOTGUNS since his last go-round with the fishes. There are few things more awesome than this.

Really, while it’s purposefully thin on plot, 3DD is thick on titties and just solidly entertaining throughout. Director John Gulager (also director of the beautifully bloody monster-flick Feast) makes no pretentions about what he’s doing with the movie, and this is what I think really made it good. This movie knows what it is, with a few pitch-perfect wink-and-a-nod moments to let the audience know it’s in on the joke. It’s not trying to deliver an epic fish story in the vein of Moby Dick. It’s just trying to get all the mileage it can from the (vein-y?) “dick” part.

I’m telling you, if you watched this movie once and hated it, give it another chance. I’ll contend forever that, approached with a desire to be purely entertained (and showed many, many jiggling girls), Piranha 3DD is a completely satisfying, cheap and trashy bit of cinematic joy.

Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆ 


About Kara_E

Kara is a Senior Office Assistant for the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics at Indiana University. A past English major and lifetime writer, she has also served both as an actress and behind-the-scenes assistant for several projects with our friends at Clockwerk Pictures. Kara lives with her husband in Bloomington, Indiana. In her spare time, she is a freelance editor/proofreader for international students at Indiana University, and serves as an organizer of the Dark Carnival Film Festival (

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