It's been a year since the tragic events at Lake Victoria which saw a hitherto unknown strain of piranha escape from an underground lake and eat a whole bunch of victims there. It couldn't happen again, could it? A few miles away, a couple of farmers (Gary Busey and Clu Gulager) are trying to retrieve the corpse of a cow they owned from a body of water, but as they get into deeper water they become aware of something sharing it with them. They try to move the carcass, but as they do it farts loudly and one of them produces a lighter which causes an explosion - of fish.
You pretty much have the measure of Piranha 3DD from that opening sequence: the ageing guest stars, the low humour, and of course the gore. Although oddly for a sequel to one of the bloodiest movies of its era, there was less of the red stuff getting splashed about than the last time around, and if truth be told less of the nudity as well, strange when you would have thought they would take what made the previous work a hit - all that revelling in the sheer crassness of it all - and tone it down. It could be that was what shot itself in the foot when the film quickly garnered the reputation less of a fish and more of a fowl.
A turkey, that was, but truth be told for all its missteps in failing to have the courage of its convictions aside from one ludicrous scene involving one of the title creatures emerging from Katrina Bowden (game in a thankless role) as she's losing her virginity, this wasn't all that bad, simply mediocre. For a comedy, it wasn't even sure of the mean laughs of its former entry, itself a remake of a far funnier cult classic from the seventies, and reduced itself to mining most of its gags essentially by having David Hasselhoff show up for some self-spoofing "I'm getting too old for this shit" skits where he finally got the chance to save someone as befitting his lifeguard role on Baywatch; not exactly cutting edge, and more suited to a TV sketch show.
The plot, such as it was, centered on a water park opened by sex-obsessed opportunist Chet (David Koechner) who has replaced the lifeguards with strippers (I'm sure health and safety would have a field day with this guy's dubious practices). Somehow he is in partnership with his stepdaughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) who is training to be a marine biologist (or something water-based anyway) and is appalled at the depths her relative by marriage is sinking to. It is she who works out there is a threat to the holidaymakers since more piranha have got out into the wider world after visiting renegade scientist Christopher Lloyd who has one of the meat-eaters in his possession for demonstration purposes.
Although this was by and large a softer version of what had gone before, it did start off almost promisingly nasty with some early stages setpieces, one in a sinking van involving a pair of handcuffs for example which could have fit in with the Alexandre Aja predecessor. But the further it went on, you began to notice little details like none of the actresses with speaking roles prepared to do nudity, leaving that to a selection of models for one or two shots, surely going against the trash aesthetic that many fans felt it should have been adhering to with more faith. As for the gore, it was relegated to the piranha munching none too clearly in brief flashes, and indicative of the film's tone was that its most brutal joke, if you could call it that, was offered up as the final shot of a movie that had barely lasted seventy minutes, after which there was a mighty dose of backpedalling in the form of outtakes in the credits as if to say, sorry, we went too far, we didn't mean it, honest. Music by Elia Cmiral.