Perhaps after having spent one too many summers bombarded with CGI spectaculars, our finest movie critics have loosened their definition of the word "quality." Either that or Piranha 3-D truly deserves the near-universal acclaim it's receiving as early appraisals trickle in. The saltwater slasher flick has garnered some of the most bizarre reviews of the year and appears to have captured a "camp" zeitgeist not seen since Samuel L. Jackson's over-hyped, ill-fated Snakes on a Plane. Here are some interesting takes from critics who gave the film a "thumbs up":
- Mere Words Cannot Describe How Awesomely Gnarly this "B-movie horror flick" is, gushes Associated Press critic Christy Lemire. The "cleverly knowing" film slowly picks off victims in classic horror movie fashion before employing "3-D precisely as [it] should with this genre: in totally gimmicky, gratuitous ways. A guy sprays beer from a keg and it shoots right at you. A girl has too many tequila shots and yacks off the side of the boat and into your lap. And of course there are the fish, zooming right at you to take a bite."
- It Stays True To The Original's 'Jaws' Inspiration but without any of the "dramatic tension and tautly coiled suspense," offers Michael Rechtshaffen at The Hollywood Reporter. He notes that conspicuously missing from this summer's film slate have been "totally naked honeys making out in an underwater ballet." Fortunately, 'Piranha' rectifies the situation with a "a pitch-perfect, guilty-pleasure serving of late-summer schlock that handily nails the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the Roger Corman original."
- There's Mayhem Everywhere, writes Betsy Sharkey at The Los Angeles Times. "Enough that the fake-blood and severed-limb budget was probably the film's biggest expenditure." But unlike her more enthusiastic peers, she declines to elaborate on the particulars of the splayed limbs: "I'd try describing the gore, but words just can't do justice to the damage a massive Mesozoic underbite, and the occasional outboard motor, can do."
- Tongue-In-Cheek Thrills, CGI-Enhanced Gore and Gratuitous Nudity all combine to provide what could be this summer's "break-out" horror film, points out Alexandre Aja at Time Out London. The Director "says his 3D re-working of Joe Dante’s 1978 original is an attempt to recreate the ‘guilty pleasure movies’ of his youth. So here, in the best/worst traditions of '70s exploitation cinema, are flesh-eating fishy gore, lip-smacking nudity and lots of laugh-out-loud silliness."
- What is This August Coming To? Where late Summer releases are "so bad that Piranha 3-D looks good to critics," wonders The New York Post's Lou Lumenick. The critic can't fathom why the "normally sane" Christy Lemire loved the "awesomely gnarly" flick. Still, he's keeping his fingers crossed: "Let's hope [Lemire's] wrong or Universal may foist 'Jaws 5 in 3-D' upon us--I hear 'Jaws 3-D' star Dennis Quaid is available."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.