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What can be said about Piranha 3D that can be more convincing or condemning than “prehistoric killer fish eat a bunch of spoilt spring breakers while a group of do-gooders try to stem the tide of carnage”?

P3D is one of those flicks that you’ll know WAY before you watch it whether or not you’re going to like it. An exploitation movie right through to its recently gnawed clean bones, the film does exactly what you want it to – provide diverting chortle and cringe-inducing titillation for 90 minutes and give your brain a break from the travails of the day.
The plot, as might be imagined, could fit on the back of a postage stamp that shrank in the wash. On the eve of spring break a tiny earthquake hits the normally sleepy lakeside town of Lake Victoria. Nobody notices though because the only damage done is the creation of a tiny rift at the bottom of the lake that frees thousands of an ancient species of flesh-eating fish back into the wild after millennia of being trapped in an underground lake. After the cops find the first dead body they consult a local science-talking guy (Christopher Lloyd) and realise the extent of the deadly problem they face.
Meanwhile handsome teen and general good egg, Jake (Steven R McQueen), is wrestling with his conscience as his mom, the local sheriff Julie Forester (Elizabeth Shue) expects him to babysit his younger brother and sister while an adult filmmaker passing through town offers him the job of location scout and the chance to hang out with his bevy of voluptuous “stars”.
As the dino-fish (they’re kind of like Nemo with a hangover crossed with the Tazmanian Devil) get a taste for manflesh, all hell breaks loose and the local constabulary find themselves caught between deciding to close the lake and denying the area its biggest money-making opportunity of the year or keeping it open and denying the partying masses the right to go home with the skin and bones still attached.
Jake, meanwhile, is stranded on a boat sinking in the middle of the lake with his porno buddies (one of whom is played by Kelly Brooke), his younger siblings and a local girl he has an unrequited crush on.
Played out with the same grotesque aplomb as the first two Final Destination films (the ones with a sense of humour), what Piranha 3D lacks in wit it makes up for in gratuitous gore and frequent, and occasionally baffling nudity.
It makes no bones about what it is though and this absolute lack of pretension, coupled with some tense sequences, satisfying comeuppances and a few winks to the camera (Richard Dreyfuss anyone?) It has cult hit written all over it.
File under guilty pleasures.
It took a while to get around to watching it, but Ryan Reynolds’ vehicle Buried doesn’t disappoint.
Known more for being the best thing in a variety of rom-coms and goofball flicks ranging in quality from average to bloody awful, Reynolds steps far out of his comfort zone for this Rodrigo Cortés-directed and Chris Sparling scripted film that will send a shiver down the spine of even the most claustrophobia-resistant.
Paul Conroy is a man with a problem. He’s after waking up to find himself in a coffin. As he comes to and gets his bearings he discovers a mobile phone and lighter in his box and tries to reconstruct the last few hours of his life and try to keep his wits about him with the possibility of an uncomfortable and imminent death.
With the mobile the only way to communicate with the outside world he tries to get in contact with someone, anyone, to try and get a rescue effort underway.
To reveal much more about the story would do the film a massive disservice but to clarify for anyone in doubt – yes, it all takes place in the box.
Unlike 127 Hours where the action occasionally cuts away from the trapped star, Buried sticks with the situation and does a damn fine job of eeking out every last possible drop of pathos, discomfort, tension (good lord the tension!) and even the occasional moment of black humour.
The success of Buried was always going to hinge on its star and Reynolds is brilliant as the terrified, frustrated Conroy.
A real, nail-biting treat.

 

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