Sporting the very title this very writer suggested back in 2010, this cheap-looking follow-up to
once again bombards the viewer with naked tits, buckets of blood and mutant fish chomping on human flesh.
The generally inept result is a virtual object lesson in the law of diminishing returns, director John Gulager displaying little of his predecessor Alexandre Aja’s flair for juggling gory mayhem with sophomoric silliness.
The setting here is an Arizona water park whose big re-opening unhappily coincides with the prehistoric omnivores making a re-appearance. Carnage inevitably ensues, though not before a drawn-out build-up only notable for a few ripe cameos (Gary Busey as a swamp-dwelling redneck, Christopher Lloyd reprising his dotty ichthyologist) and some isolated attacks that rob one teen of his hand and another of his manhood. (“Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina,” splutters the poor guy’s girlfriend by way of explanation.)
Things perk up a little with the arrival of a self-spoofing David Hasselhoff, whose role as a celebrity lifeguard recruited for the occasion sees him trading off his cheesy Baywatch persona, insulting a child and holding in his bronzed gut whenever the camera turns in his direction.
Further yuks come from Ving Rhames’ sheriff, now with titanium appendages where his legs used to be that double as fish-slaying, Planet Terror -style firearms. What comedic relief they offer, alas, can’t redeem a shambolic whole whose stereoscopic havoc looks pretty mild compared to, say, Final Destination 5 .
The piranhas themselves, meanwhile, are afforded near-super powers that enable them to trash wooden piers, chew through metal and even take to dry land. Oddly, though, this does not prevent Gulager’s film running out of ideas about the hour mark and stumbling to a stop shortly after.
Why else would it incorporate a relentlessly elongated blooper reel that seems to feature every single outtake, mishap and fluffed line that took place during production?
“Welcome to rock bottom!” sighs Hasselhoff at one stage, pretty much summing up this textbook exercise in sloppy seconds. Here’s hoping the piranhas have a better agent than he does.