Saturday, August 22, 2015

Piranha (1995)

Well, it's the end of summer. So, let's celebrate by doing another summer horror movie! I originally planned to review the 1978 Piranha this week – the original movie that people sort of remember. But unfortunately, I didn't do my research, and ended up watching something else entirely – the 1995 Piranha remake, to be exact; a movie I didn't know existed. Because apparently, I am going senile after six years of doing this site and can't be bothered to watch the right movies.

Director: Scott P. Levy
Starring: William Katt, Alexandra Paul

Co-written with Michelle.

This movie is good, if by 'good' you really just mean 'ripping off every creature flick in existence and doing a bland job of it without actually offending.' Which is what I always mean when I say good. So I guess it's cool.

The film begins with two kids going out onto the water, and yes, it's totally OK for the girl to get naked and the guy to be completely clothed – that's what feminism has brought us.

They blather on about how it's totally cool to be there, and no, nerdy guy, nothing bad will happen. Which is a surefire guarantee, really. It should be an insurance premium – if a hot chick in a horror movie tells you everything will be fine, it totally will be.

The nakedness apparently has all the answers.

They start swimming for a bit until one thing slightly inconveniences them – a swarm of hungry piranhas that devours them alive. I guess the insurance policy was a bit of a fraud. Oh well. At least we have Obamacare now, so this kind of thing never happens in horror movies anymore.

The main story starts when a writer guy named Paul living out in the woods is confronted by a scientist named Maggie, who is searching for the two kids who got killed in the opening scene – even though we will never remember their names, and even the movie sort of forgets them as we go along. We get a few bland scenes of them introducing one another, which of course ends with Paul joining her for a wacky buddy cop scenario like all bad movies have.

"Let's exchange pointless banter and then grow to love one another at the end!"

They go and find some laboratory where some scientists were experimenting on piranhas, or some shit like that. They don't get very far, though, before a crazy woman attacks them with an ax. It's random and out of nowhere, but hey, the movie needed someone to spout exposition lazily later on, so they just threw this lady in. I've seen worse excuses for exposition... wait, no. No I haven't. This is the worst.

Put the ax down, Annie Wilkes. You're better off just getting out of this while you can.

They tie her up and bring her back to Paul's place, and the next day while they're searching for the source of the piranha attacks, the lady gives them some exposition about how the piranhas were created by the government so they could put them in the water of enemy countries and kill everyone off. That's so stupid, even most Internet conspiracy theorists would call it insane – but I guess in this movie it's a reality.

I also love how there had to be this whole big explanation of this plot. Isn't it just the same shit all these movies have? If the government wasn't behind this, it would have been aliens or something. Those are the only two options. After that, you just copy and paste all the other tropes and wallah, you have a bland and formulaic creature horror flick.

They do save a kid from the piranhas, but the crazy lady dies, because her purpose in the movie was just to tell the extremely bland backstory. Boy, these movies sure do have a weird, Darwinian view of purposes in life, huh? Once you give the exposition, you have no reason to live and can thus be ripped apart immediately. Heavy stuff for a movie made by people who I'm not sure could count past 12.

"Farewell, sweet princess. You have served your purpose and may now go to the Great Exposition Dump in the Sky, where Odin awaits you."

Also, while I'm on the subject, the piranhas make noises more like raptors from Jurassic Park or something, and it is annoying as shit. It's also always the exact same noise, with no variation. It's kind of like if they were puppets with the laziest sound-box in the world. Really? Couldn't even vary up the scary noises they make? Ah well – it's still better than the noise the mosquito made in Mosquito.

This apparently makes noises like a fucking dinosaur or bird of prey. Oh well. I'll go with it.

They then find out Paul's daughter who he never talks to is at a summer camp where all the piranhas are plotting to kill everyone. The movie doesn't say they're plotting to do that, but I think it's funnier to imagine a bunch of mutant piranhas sitting around with a map plotting out points on where to attack.

Of course, because this is a dumb movie from the '90s, the authority figures don't believe Paul and Maggie when they say piranhas are going to attack. Because Mr. Bigwig Businessman wants money! So that trumps any and all warnings of danger, even from legit scientists who have no reason to lie about it. This is basically how the whole conversation goes:

PAUL AND MAGGIE: We need to evacuate that park, because piranhas are going to kill everyone!

BIGWIG BUSINESSMAN: No, we need money! You're just a bunch of liberal feminist hippies!

(Yes, that's an actual line in the fucking movie.)

PAUL AND MAGGIE: Wouldn't it make sense to at least check and make sure a bunch of child deaths aren't going to be on your conscience?

BIGWIG BUSINESSMAN: *plugs ears with fingers* LALALALALALA!

SHERIFF: I'm gonna arrest you now on no legitimate charges because I am in the businessman's pocket! That's how reality works!


So, yeah, really – they get thrown in jail for no reason and can't even make a phone call because “they're not arrested, they're just being held.” Which is so illegal that I'm positive the entire sheriff's department would be immediately overhauled in real life and Paul and Maggie would be able to sue them for millions. But this movie is more of a cartoon than anything, so we need a scene where they knock out a guard to escape and steal his pants because the key to the jail is chained to them, and we get to see this:

Amazing. I can die in peace now after seeing this.

Then we get the climax, full of kids dying and their parents dying while trying to save them. That's great because their lives are ruined forever now.

Aw. What a heartwarming summer image.

Paul and Maggie go out to the ocean and try to lure the piranha into this old barge thing, or something like that – Paul is underwater for much longer than any of the other characters who died, but he doesn't get attacked at all. Hmmm. Maybe that's incredibly poor writing based on lazy convenience and anyone who does it should be ashamed.

Nah – the fish were probably just hungover that day of shooting.

And plus, it's cool – later, the piranhas DO attack him mercilessly, which is what I wanted to see from the first time I heard that weenie talk. But he demonstrates that being the main character means piranhas devouring you just means you have blood paint on you afterwards and are mostly fine.

"No! That guy I knew for one day is DEAD! I loved him!!!"
"Arrrgggrrrrrhhhh! Even I don't know how I survived this!"

So they get rid of all the piranhas and then the businessman guy shoots himself. Yes, really – that's the end of his story. It's totally dark, and is the best suicide I have ever seen.

Best ending ever!

Then the movie ends with kids on a beach presumably going to get eaten by more piranhas, with a voiceover from the mayor or somebody telling them it's totally safe!

Which is totally original and not at all a lame Jaws rip off. Not at all.

This was pretty bad, but not offensive or anything – it was pretty harmless. The worst thing about it had to be that noise the piranhas made. Just for that, I give it zero stars. If it didn't have that noise in it, it could have been a solid three-star movie. But the noise the piranha made killed it, just killed it dead.

And what? There were plenty of boob shots and fanservice scenes I could have very easily put into the review and made it better? Damn. Just damn. Between getting the movie wrong AND not putting in those pandering fanservice shots, I'm really not at the top of my game. I could have edited this further and fixed everything in addition to watching the correct movie instead, but I'm just leaving all of this rambling at the end of this mediocre review. Oh well. I'll try again next week.

Images copyright of their original owner. I own none of them.