Thursday 3 January 2013

Piranhaconda - Review

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray , certificate 15


Directed by Jim Wynorski

The CGI star of the show!
If there were Oscars for truly trashy B-movies, then the team behind Piranhaconda would be walking away with a fistful of statuettes. These would be more than deserved as Roger Corman, the acknowledged genius of the B-movie horror genre, is credited as executive producer on the film.

However, where Corman’s talent has previously led to iconic movie gems such as Little Shop of Horrors, this movie is unfortunately, not in that league. Corman made films in an era when the sloppy corner-cutting luxury of CGI was simply not available to filmmakers and special effects, even cranky ones, required love and effort, however corny the plot-line. Piranhaconda is barely an affectionate nod to its namesakes Piranha and Anaconda, the first of which, certainly in Alexandre Aja’s recent 3D remake, was actually a very well made horror movie, with outstanding visuals and suspense and genuine, as well as tacky, tongue in cheek gory humour.

Set on Hawaii, where the DVD’s publicity enticingly states that Michael Madsen leads the cast, three  groups of characters a naturalist unit (led by a Professor, Madsen), a low-budget horror film crew and a gang of vicious kidnappers find their paths fatefully crossing at just the same time as the legendary creature of the film’s title, is making an unwelcome re-appearance. To make sure that there is no chance whatsoever of suspense creation, director Jim Wynorski helpfully introduces his gargantuan reptile during the opening credits sequence. So atrocious is the 100m long snake,  that one hopes the CGI  creation might, just might, be a sub plot arising from the low-budget “film within a film”.  Sadly this is not the case, as it turns out that the full extent of that movie’s horror extends to an actor jumping out from behind jungle vegetation with a mask on his head. No, the Piranhaconda as a python is more akin to the Monty family as opposed to predatory reptiles. The only fearsome maneater in this tale is Rod Stewarts ex-wife Rachel Hunter and even she does little more than raise the average age of the female cast members.

To its credit the film presents some beautiful panoramas of Hawaii and at times the dialogue is so cheesy, that it merits a pantomime-style laugh. When the piranhaconda looms up behind its next unsuspecting victim, the temptation to shout out “ It’s behind you” can sometimes be overwhelming.

If you enjoy low-cost special effects, corny gags, and numerous bikini clad young actresses, then this movie is for you, ideally washed down with copious amounts of alcohol.  Otherwise, stay out of the water.

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