The final half hour of Alexandre Aja's Piranha is the most entertaining thirty minute stretch of film I have seen in a long time. It took me completely by surprise. Piranha is so stupid and so over the top that it's impossible to tell whether this is meant to be a satire of excess or just an exercise in it. It ramps the nudity and gore up to ludicrous levels, but is that just because it genuinely loves tits and gore? Or is it holding those breasts up like a mirror so that we can see how ridiculous we ourselves are, as the consumers of these films? Probably not that second one, to be honest.
I don't understand the sexual politics of this movie at all. It has a maniacal embrace of the grindhouse philosophy that more naked breasts make a better movie, and it objectifies the college girls from beginning to end. But then it throws in a character for the express purpose of mocking the creator of those Girls Gone Wild videos. He's a complete slimeball who we're clearly meant to hate. And, more confusingly, we're clearly meant to hate him because he objectifies women. When one of his porn actresses is trying to pull him out of the water and to safety, he yells, "Help me you bitch." And then they give us Elizabeth Shue as the Sheriff, a no-nonsense 47 year old mom who isn't objectified but who hasn't been desexualized either, which is refreshing. But there are so many lingering wet t-shirt shots. So many ass shots. There is a naked underwater lesbian make out that is set to new age earth goddess style music and that goes on for so long that you start to worry the director forgot he wasn't actually making a porn movie himself. An insane mermaid slow motion porn movie.
And it's such a crazy aesthetic. The last half hour of this movie mixes gore with T&A so indiscriminately that it hurts to think about it too hard. A woman in a bikini gets sliced from her shoulder down diagonally to her opposite hip. She has that stunned, "I just got cut in half" look on her face, and then the bra falls open, showing off her breasts. After a moment of breast exposure, the two halves of her body slide apart with a sick wet sound, and then the top half falls lifeless toward the camera. Tit first. In slow motion 3D. A woman is para-sailing topless, and they keep her in the water too long, only to speed the boat up so that she hangs bloody and naked from the parachute. Another character is eaten from the waist down and then the Piranhas fight over his penis. Then one of them throws it up.
It's like an emotionally stunted imaginative twelve year old boy directed huge chunks of the movie. I couldn't figure it out, but I think I loved it.