Mega Piranha - something's fishy here and it's not Barry Williams
When I saw that manila envelope on my desk this morning I tore into it hoping, wishing, praying that inside there would be a screener of The Asylum's Mega Piranha for me to watch tonight and report back to you on. Lo and behold there was and I have come out those 90 minutes of fishy terror not completely unscathed but not nearly as scarred as I feared. With tongue held firmly in cheek I set my personal film emergency level to 'defcon silly' and enjoyed this latest offering from the low budget production house. It's exactly what you would expect from The Asylum. Low budget schlock house terror from the rivers of South America.
Paul Logan is Jason Fitch, Navy SEAL, and Asylum alumnus, sent to Venezuala to investigate the disappearance of an American diplomat. He is to meet with the local military leader and find out what happened. Was it terrorists? Rebels? What did happen on that river boat cruise. Fitch is stopped at the airport by Sarah Monroe, played by another 80s pop starlet Tiffany [still just Tiffany]. She is convinced it was an attack not by humans, but by mutated Piranhas that are growing at an exponential rate. They are an experiment gone wrong.
Fitch reports back to Bob Grady, played by Greg Brady, Barry Williams, who spends the greater part of the film speaking into his cell phone trying to keep Washington at bay while Fitch looks for answers. Without any hint of disbelief or doubt, [Really? Piranhas you say? You sure it wasn't C4 or Symtec or an RPG? No? Okay. Under cause of death I am writing nibbled to death by Piranhas] they accept Fitch's conclusion. These mutated Piranhas must be stopped. But then the overzealous military leader launches his own attack on these fishy fiends and as a result they are freed when he blows up the only thing that has kept them at bay so far, essentially a Venezuelan beaver dam. They're loose. They're getting bigger. And they're heading to Florida! Someone stop them before they get to Washington!
The piranhas then wreak havoc around the shorelines of the Eastern Seaboard by hurtling themselves into buildings, fireworks warehouses and gasoline storage facilities with the kind of zeal that would make a Japanese Kamikaze pilot blush. This is it? This is how you're going to kill all the humans? "If I'm going to go out I'm taking you bastards with me. Yeah you. You in the fifth floor of that high rise on the shore line. Splat! Boom! Kablooie! If only we could just jump a couple blocks further in we could get those jerks behind you!" There's a bit more biting but rather than ruining their dental work they just lob themselves around crushing anyone standing beside a body of water with their massive girth. Eventually they are stopped and the means to an end is truly bewildering.
To pick on a film from The Asylum is like trying to wedgie the kid in gym class whose underpants are already ripped. You just don't need to. Their films are low budget. The acting is turned up past 11, on to at least 12 and 13, on the over acting dial. Mega Piranha is excessively over produced even for a low budget affair. Nearly every cut to another scene is edited with a flash, the sound of a rush of wind, and tinkering with film speed. They edit the hell out of this movie. Segue senes are mercilessly repeated. Every time the story changes location we're shown the same title cards over and over again. This is the river! This is Venezuela! This is Washington! This is the secret military base! Background actors appear in uniforms of both armies. The digital effects are rudimentary and may pass for animatics for bigger budget films.
But those bigger budget films won't be nearly as silly and laugh out loud hilarious as this Fish Gone Wild sea shanty goes. It's not high art. Hell, it's not even low art. But you know what you get when you have a film from The Asylum in your hands. In case by some act of God you're stuck at home tomorrow night 9pm local time and you want to shut off your cerebral cortex for a couple hours there is always Mega Piranha.