PIRANHA 3DD

From topless women splashing about in the water, to an unfortunate fellow who loses his penis to a stubborn fish, Piranha 3DD tries hard to recycle many of the same elements that made its 2010 predecessor, Piranha 3D, such trashy fun. But it’s precisely because it tries so hard that this film ultimately fails. For while the earlier film cheerily embraced its cheesiness and faux horror, Piranha 3DD comes off as calculated and desperate in its attempt to up the ante by packing the climax with relentless dismembering.

The plot, to be fair, is slimmer than a Pringles chip: A young girl returns home for summer break to discover that her creepy stepfather has given her late mother’s water-park business a sleazy makeover: he’s replaced the lifeguards with strippers, he’s introduced an adult pool, and he’s installed a camera inside to catch all the nudie action. What’s more, he’s been illegally pumping water from a nearby well that links to the ill-fated Lake Victoria of the previous film, where those pesky piranhas wreaked havoc. How long before those ravenous fish find their way into the water-park?

Living up to the double-D in its title, the film often feels like an endless montage of silicone bouncing and juggling in too-tight bikini-tops…that is until the little critters show up and start chewing off arms and legs and just about any body part they can get their teeth on. But while there is a lot of blood, expectedly there’s very little feeling.

Now it’s been 37 years since Jaws, but apparently teenagers still haven’t got it into their thick heads that going skinny-dipping in the night is not a good idea. To give credit where it’s due, the makers of Piranha 3DD offer a fresh spin on the swimming-in-the-moonlight cliche, with an entirely impossible but awkwardly comical scenario that involves a piranha finding its way into a girl’s most private area…a sequence that delivers its payoff in a later bedroom scene that is disgusting and amusing in equal measure.

The only other time you’re likely to laugh in this film is at the sight of has-been Baywatch star David Hasselhoff spoofing himself in a cameo as a celebrity guest at the water-park opening.

Alas, these are tiny pleasures in what is a dull, hopeless film. The 3D too is disappointing, employed strictly so the filmmakers can chuck an ugly CGI fish in your face every few minutes.

I’m going with one out of five for Piranha 3DD. Unlike the last film, it’s not even so bad that it’s good.

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