Viewed – 27 September 2011 Blu-ray
Stop me if you have heard this one before. A troubled family fleeing from an abusive husband / father relocate to a small town. Eldest son doesn’t like it, but catches the eye of the hot girl living next door. One day whilst messing about in their new home’s basement, he and his younger brother discover a hole beneath a trap door … that may just be a gateway to hell. Yes, it’s just like The Gate frm the 80s. What you’ve not heard of it? It was great, trust me.
Director Joe Dante, most famous for Gremlins, makes a sort of come back with this family friendly scare-fest, that although the gimmick of 3D just means there is plenty of stuff being thrown at the screen, piles on enough imagination and energy that I never got bored. We have an evil jester-puppet, a spooky dead girl, and plenty of things jumping out and going boo (well, kind of). It’s actually pretty scary in places, but is light enough in tone that I had no fear of nightmares afterwards. The young cast is all likable, if a little stereotyped, and the story is involving, despite the closing moments feeling like the characters just jumped from one movie into another … and various plot threads are left unanswered.
As an evening’s entertainment though, this will do the job nicely.
Verdict: 3 /5
Viewed – 14 January 2011 Blu-ray
This is one of those movies that has a certain kind of audience in mind. Guys and fanatics of low-budget trashy horror who grew up on the likes of The Evil Dead and Re-Animator. Those movies understood the basics of any good horror. You need tits, and you need gore – lots of it. Therefore I knew exactly what to expect when sitting down to watch this remake of the Joe Dante (sort of) classic.
Elizabeth Shue is a Sheriff living in a local lake-side community, who stumbles upon an outbreak of Piranhas, unearthed following an earth quake under the sea. It also happens to be spring break, the time where hormonal, sex-crazed teenagers converge on the beach for plenty of sun, sea and wet t-shirt competitions. So naturally for the Piranhas this is an all you can eat buffet, and it’s up to the Sheriff, her son and Kelly Brooke in a bikini to save the day – kind of.
Director Alexandre Aja has made a bit of a name for himself following the break-out slasher classic High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance) and then following it up with the actually rather brilliant The Hills Have Eyes remake. Now delving into his love of 80s horror if Tension could be seen as his tribute to 70s horror, this delivers on its principal promise. There’s plenty of nudity, and most importantly blood & gore – with some money shots really knocking me off my seat. All I’ll say is a boat propeller and a girl’s hair are not a good combination! Sadly the same can’t be said for the acting or the casting, with cranky dialogue and characters so wafer thin they’re almost cartoon-like. And what Christopher Lloyd is doing here is anyone’s guess.
But for fans, this is a joy. Aja cements his reputation as the gore king and at a zippy 85 minutes, its fast, fun and entertaining. Nods to Jaws (such as Richard Dreyfuss’ cameo) only remind the viewer of how gripping and intelligent this could have been, but beyond that this does tick all the boxes for what a Piranha movie needs, and I really enjoyed it.
3D doesn’t interest me at all, so I watched the 2D version.
Verdict: 3.5 /5