In the wake for Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Jaws hit theatres, there was an attempt by the studios to cash in on its success by producing a glut of water-based horror/thrillers. Many of these were awful train-wrecks, but one, Piranha, was unique in that it was directed by a young Joe Dante (who would later become known as the guy that directed the projects Spielberg thought were too dark to do himself, i.e. Gremlins) and the sequel even launched the career of James Cameron. (Terminator 2, Aliens etc.)
So with that kind of cult credibility, the man helming the 3D remake had better be up to the task.
MTV has the story
The news broke last year that Alexander Aja — the French horror director famous for “High Tension,” “Mirrors” and the 2006 remake of “The Hills Have Eyes” — would be helming the remake, but now some production delays have since lead to a somewhat delayed start-date.
“We pushed production back to spring for weather reasons and location reasons,” confirmed Aja during an interview with MTV News. “There’s so many problems that we’re going to have to solve. After doing a movie with mirrors where it was kind of like a nightmare to avoid all the reflections, making a movie in 3D underwater and on the water is going to be the biggest challenge.”
Citing a desire to pay his respects to his heroes (mentioning Dante, Cameron, Tobe Hooper, and Wes Craven), Aja hopes to employ the latest 3D technology in a groundbreaking way.
“Something I’ve been trying to do for almost ten years now is trying to make movies where the audience is not watching a story or watching some actors but where the audience is crossing the screen and getting on the other side of the mirror, if you will and lives the nightmare of the screen with the protagonist. When James Cameron said that he wanted to go back and reinvent 3D technology, I always thought with my writing and producing partner that it would be the best tool to create the best horror movie. When people are a version of the audience inside the movie, what is the best thing in 3D to create the full-immersion? I think it’s only logical to use the horror genre for 3D to become even more efficient.”
Aja admitted that had he had to pass up a lifelong dream of meeting Cameron when scheduling conflicts forced him to turn down a set-visit to meet with his lifelong hero. “I got invited on the set of [Avatar],” Aja explained, “but I had to location scout and couldn’t attend… It’s like the biggest shame of my life. It was just impossible. I was so pissed off.”
I look back on Piranha extremely fondly from my youth, and have vivid memories of the swarms of fish racing towards the camera as innocent victims splashed and larked about upstream, blissfully unaware of their fate, so the idea of a remake immediately puts me on the defensive (though I admit the concept lends itself very well to the 3D format). From his back catalogue, it seems Aja is a quite hit and miss, but he genuinely seems to have respect for the source material and will hopefully put everything he has into this movie.