PICKIN’ THE CARCASS: MEGAPIRANHA (2010)
By Michael Arruda
It’s just not a good time to be a piranha.
After PIRANHA 3D (2010) topped my list as the worst theatrical horror release of 2010, here comes MEGAPIRANHA (2010) courtesy of the SyFy Channel which, by all accounts, is—even worse. How can you get lower than zero? We’re into negative numbers, I guess.
First of all, I already know what you’re thinking: why in the world would you bother with an original SyFy movie? Good question, and I don’t really have a good answer, except that this one starred Barry Williams from “The Brady Bunch!” I know, that’s really not such a good reason. My only other defense is that I’m a sucker for giant monster movies, and so I continue the elusive search for a good giant monster movie. After watching MEGAPIRANHA on DVD, the search goes on.
The movie opens in Venezuela with a boatload of people meeting their gruesome deaths at the teeth of vicious piranha in a scene that is about as dull and unexciting as a death scene featuring hungry piranha can be. Turns out that one of the victims was a U.S. ambassador, and the reports coming out of Venezuela are that the ambassador was assassinated.
Enter Secretary of State Bob Grady (Barry Williams) (who knew that Greg Brady would grow up to become Secretary of State!) who vows to get to the bottom of this mystery. He sends in military man Jason Fitch (Paul Logan) to find out just exactly what happened in Venezuela. Fitch looks like he was kicked out of Sylvester Stallone’s THE EXPENDABLES for being too nice!
Fitch hooks up with beautiful scientist Sarah Monroe (former pop star Tiffany) and they promptly fall in love (gee, that’s believable!). Monroe informs Fitch that she and her buddy scientists had been in the process of experimenting with genetic mutations in order to help the food supply for the world’s hungry— ah, such noble scientists— when they accidentally created a genetically mutated piranha— ah, such careless scientists. Not to worry, Sarah and her buddies destroyed the monster piranha, or so they thought. Turns out their deadly creations are on the loose and doubling in size ever few hours. Not only that, but they’re heading for Florida— mega piranhas’ destination of choice for Spring Break— unless Sarah and Fitch can stop them.
And it won’t be easy, because there’s a disgruntled South American Colonel (David Labiosa) who’s out to stop our heroes at every turn, because it seems, that’s what disgruntled South American colonels do.
What I want to know is, if the scientists were working on improving the food supply, what the heck were they doing experimenting on piranhas? I mean, who the hell eats piranhas? — ah, stupid, stupid scientists.
So, that’s the plot. The piranhas get bigger and keep attacking people, Fitch and Sarah invent ways to stop the piranhas from reaching Florida, ways that continually fail because the piranhas do reach Florida, and the evil colonel and his soldiers invent ways to stop Fitch and Sarah, ways that also continually fail, as Fitch and Sarah also make it to Florida.
From start to finish, MEGAPIRANHA is a mega mess.
The acting is horrible. Paul Logan as Jason Fitch looks like he should be playing a spoof of his character. He looks like he signed up to star in SCARY MOVIE 23 or something, as if he’s waiting for the script to be funny. As Sarah Monroe, Tiffany is pretty much awful.
Then there’s Barry Williams, Greg Brady himself, as the Secretary of State. Williams isn’t half bad, and he’s actually one of the better actors in the movie. Too bad I don’t believe he’s Secretary of State. That I never bought. Had he been some businessman interested in purchasing giant piranha, yeah, that I could have believed, but Secretary of State? Nope.
And his performance as the Secretary of State isn’t helped by the fact that nearly every time we see him, he’s alone. He’s talking to Fitch on his cell phone in his car; he’s alone. He’s walking along the street talking to Fitch on his cell phone; he’s alone. He’s the friggin Secretary of State! Where’s his entourage? Security personnel? Aides? The press?
That’s really the biggest problem with MEGAPIRANHA. It’s not believable in the least. Sure, I suppose you could argue that a movie about giant piranhas is not supposed to be believable, but it’s no secret, that the best horror films, regardless of their plot, are the ones that make the audience believe in what’s going on. To do that, you need convincing acting, which this movie doesn’t have, good writing, and creative directing, two other things this movie doesn’t have.
MEGAPIRANHA was written and directed by Eric Forsberg, so he gets to take the heat for both the lousy script and weak direction. The screenplay is plain awful, sorry to say. The dialogue is phony and the story just as bad.
Direction? Not very much. There’s not a memorable scene to be found, and the pacing is horrible. It just moves from one scene to another without any sense of dramatic build-up. I thought I was watching a bunch of commercials strewn together. I wasn’t drawn into this story at all.
I hate to be so critical, but in this business I have to call it like I see it, and in this one, I didn’t see much. Maybe Forsberg needs to do more rewrites before he films his next movie.
The CGI special effects are as fake-looking as you would expect in a SyFy movie. I’ve seen better visuals on my screen saver.
Skip MEGAPIRANHA. There’s nothing of value here.
About the only thing this flick is good for is fish bait.
© Copyright 2011 by Michael Arruda