Okay, so it’s apparent that aquatic predators are a part of a greater collective fear amongst humans. Blame it on Jaws, or for that matter, blame it on Moby Dick but no matter who takes the rap, what’s lurking in the deep has always made our skin crawl. Knowing how vulnerable we would be when we’re beneath the water is scary enough. Add on to that the idea that there are fanged beasts who’s taste for blood is insatiable and you’ve got a heaping plate of terror.
Knowing that this time of year is when Shark Week graces our presence, and knowing that the aforementioned masterpiece was getting its proper Blu-ray release, it seemed only fitting that the low budget community would offer up its sacrifices to the oceanic horror gods. For your consideration, I present Jersey Shore Shark Attack (coming to Blu-ray and DVD August 28th from Anchor Bay Entertainment) and Piranha 3DD (coming to Blu-ray and DVD September 4th from Dimension Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment).
First, let us begin with Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Here’s the facts: It is a movie and it exists. Beyond that, it’s pretty much downhill for this one. The movie had its premiere on SyFy this past June. That’s usually a solid indicator of what you’re in for. Not a bare tit nor a “fuck” anywhere to be seen, the movie is modest in almost every aspect. It’s a fairly simple premise that is summed up by the film’s title. A group of Jersey Shore residents are looking to have themselves a kick ass 4th of July but get horribly interrupted when a gang of Albino(?!) killer sharks start targeting the residents of this beautiful boardwalk. Knowing these juiceheads have one choice and one choice only, they take up arms and look to take back their beach. What ensues is a clusterfuck of bad jokes, lousy effects, and even worse acting. Featuring veteran actors like Paul Sorvino and “musicals talents” such as Joey Fatone, the cast cashes in on every single stereotype these human blemishes have to offer and dish out 87 minutes of utter predictability.
I’m perfectly accepting of schlock as is evidenced by this website’s history. Hell, I love it! But seriously. This movie is a nightmare. Looking to jump on board the Jersey Shore train (who’s 15 minute ride is drawing to a close very soon!), JSSA’s attempt at mocking this idiotic plight on the existence of man falls short of its admirable cause. Look, we would all love to see those shit stains erased from civilization at the hands (or teeth, rather) of a giant shark. Think of a world where the cast of The Jersey Shore, the Kardashian Family, and every location-specific “Housewife” is put out of OUR misery by ol’ Snaptooth! Isn’t it a Utopian dream? I know it’s a world I would love to live in. Jersey Shore Shark Attack wants to give that to you. They want to mock those spray-on tan dipshits. Unfortunately, they end up making them the victims/misunderstood heroes.
The attempt at genre-bending falls short. They were “attempting” to jump on something timely but slip at every turn. The characters are hackneyed cartoon versions of already-cartoonish people. I know it was one those SyFy channel $500 budgets, but c’mon! Not even so much as a shitty piece of shark stock footage?! Instead, they opt for high school computer class graphics to create their fear with. It’s a bummer to know that instead of a true Jersey Shore shark attack that involved caricatures of those vile pigs getting eaten to death by a shark, we get a ragged attempt at giving them heart. It’s a major letdown.
I will give credit where it’s due. The actual Blu-ray and packaging looks great. The movie itself was shot decently and the transfer to disc was concise and crisp. But one would probably have to credit that to Anchor Bay and not the film, wouldn’t they? As ridiculous as the name would suggest it to be, the movie is somehow worse. Go figure. We don’t get what we want, which is Snookie or someone like her getting eviscerated. We get a love story consisting of…well…these dumbasses. Not much redeemable value here, just another sad SyFy Channel production.
Moving onto Piranha 3DD, I find myself a bit confused but much more entertained. The previous Piranha (meaning the Aja remake) was a tip of the cap to schlock horror lovers everywhere. It was thin on character development, but heavy on ridiculousness. Truthfully, Aja was paying homage to Roger Corman and going for the camp to end all campiness. It worked. Knowing they were going to do a sequel, they would have to attempt to one up themselves. In some aspect they do. Sort of. This time out, we’re treated to a Piranha film directed by modern day cult hero, John Gulager (the man behind FEAST). Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (the duo responsible for 4 of the Saw sequels…so blame them, I guess) the movie takes us back to Lake Victoria, the site of Aja’s first fish massacre. This time those prehistoric finned fellas are targeting The Big Wet Water Park, the town’s latest attraction. Even in a chlorinated pool no one is safe from these vicious monsters who are not only still alive, but evolving! Is everyone screwed again? Yes, they are. Blood, limbs, and bikini tops go flying again in Piranha 3DD.
So, onto the confusion first. I was assuming with the copious amounts of T&A that *ahem* bounce about in the previous film, Gulager would have the daunting task of going even further. As I said, in some areas he did. But given the film’s title not at all in the areas one was expecting. For starters, there is actually less nudity. I was not expecting this. I wasn’t watching it specifically to see boobs. I have a very sexy wife and a high speed internet connection. So, I’m good in the booby department. It was more about the fact that the title AND the marketing eluded to more of a skin flick with gore and less of a…well…movie. What you get is more of a traditional horror flick. It has the cameos we’ve come to expect in the modern day sleaze film. Gary Busey being an idiot? Check. Christopher Lloyd not playing Doc Brown but playing Doc Brown? Check. David Hasselhoff mocking his Baywatch past? Check. Ving Rhames? Check (seriously. The dude’s in every remake). The cast is also rounded out by some young actors who’ve been making the horror rounds lately, as well. Basically, it’s what you expect from a movie with a limited theatrical release that streamed and then gets itself a Blu-ray release. Sort-of familiar young faces placed in precarious situations involving sex n’ violence. However, if I’ve learned anything from John Gulager’s movies thus far, it’s to not assume it will happen in the manner you were anticipating. 1.We get an actual storyline! 2.We have a plausible, albeit, generic love triangle. 3.The shitty people meet gruesome ends. 4.It’s made up of stereotypes. Despite the confusion with “far more gore, far less nudity” the pieces do fall into place.
When all is said and done, there wasn’t too much about Piranha 3DD that I didn’t see coming. That’s not the point, however. It’s a fun movie with hilarious kill scenes (life lesson for the kiddies: If you’re having intercourse, a piranha can and will swim OUT of a vagina and bite your dick off). The effects are top notch and frankly needed to be. With that much gore and viscera floating around, you had better insure that you have the best looking effects possible. The filmmakers did just that. It’s such a huge part of the film’s backdrop that the quality was necessary. I applaud the work done here.
It could have to do with the fact that I watched both films back-to-back but Piranha 3DD stands out as the obvious choice here. There attempt at tongue-in-cheek irony works. It’s a funny movie that delivers on its promises of being sicker than it’s predecessor. Jersey Shore Shark Attack is a linear, dumb movie that leaves the viewer with absolutely nothing to remember it by. If anything, it could end up a Troll 2 for my son’s generation one day. He could dust off one of his old man’s discs someday and get a hearty laugh out of this stinker for being so daft that it almost works. Almost. Piranha 3DD isn’t Jaws, but it’s still a good time. You can watch evil fish bite off dicks in 3D…who doesn’t want that??