The Many Piranhas of Piranha 3D

Alexandre Aja‘s Haute Tension, aka Switchblade Romance, made one heck of a big, red, sticky splash when it started hacking into the horror festival circuit in 2003. As a result, Aja was heralded as the saviour of splatter cinema, the first Frenchman in a long line to have that mantle thrust upon him in just the last five years. The others, I think, all benefitted from a French film industry more willing to embrace gory fare as a direct result of Aja’s success, not to mention a kind of hype fallout. By now it seems to my cynical side that horror buffs worldwide are just looking for an excuse to laud every single horror film to come out of France and keep the chain unbroken, even when the film is as downright hopeless as Xavier Gens’ Fronti√®re(s).

Aja’s American follow ups, The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors, have proven to be at once underdeveloped and under appreciated, so I’m left wondering if, perhaps, the reputation of Switchblade Romance was encouraged as much by the film’s supposedly exotic nature as it was by it’s edge-of-seat efficacy.

For his next trick, Aja is going ahead with his a remake of Joe Dante’s Piranha, this time in 3D.¬† Some concept art surfaced at the American Film Market last Autumn – excerpted at the top of this post – but Aja has now revealed there’s more to this design work than meets the eye…

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Alex Aja’s Mirrors Red Band Movie Trailer

When the first trailer for Alexandre Aja‘s Mirrors premiered, with the exception of Slashfilm and a few horror sites, the Net issued a collective “meh, pass.” The trailer even purportedly received loud guffaws at a press screening, and we received four death threats just for suggesting that the film itself might actually be creepy. Scarier than email/gchat death threats from nerds, even. A friend and source close to the production tells me that the film will definitely deliver and give Alex Aja (Haute Tension) the industry cachet to keep kids up at night for many years. He compares what he’s seen of the film to Jacob’s Ladder meets Poltergeist III (and P3 was fucking scary, admit it), and says that even this trailer doesn’t do the film justice.

IGN received the red band and suddenly the Net consensus has pulled a uniform “maybe I was wrong.” The red band offers a nice round-up of the recurring psychotic optical “jaggies” and too-real throat slits that Aja is great at. We also see co-star Amy Smart, or a reflection thereof, removing her mandible. No big deal. The scenes with tykes are cliche, sure, but the tone is inherently spooky and a welcome return to the horror genre for Kiefer Sutherland. Summer ’08 is offering a great mix of films, and I think we’ll include Mirrors as a fun contribution when all is said and done.

Mirrors opens August 15th.

Discuss: Run of the mill or do you think Mirrors and Aja will deliver actual scares?

Alexandre Aja’s Mirrors Movie Poster

Shock got their mitts on the first one-sheet for director Alexandre Aja‘s latest horror film Mirrors. Though the poster’s design and imagery are standard for the genre, at least it doesn’t lack creepiness. We posted the teaser trailer and linked a superior video clip last week, and reader response was justifably mixed. And we should point out that, according to Aja, his film is not a remake of the Korean supernatural flick, Into the Mirror, though it’s still being frequently reported as such on the Nets.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as a mall security guard who sees dead people (not in the Haley Joel Osment-way) and, need I tell you, freaky, knife-wielding reflections. Expect to hear a more solid Net consensus about the film after next month’s Comic Con. Twentieth Century Fox allowed Aja final cut, complete with his preference for the ending, so I remain optimistic that this will be an above-par and fun effort. As it stands, the marketing could work harder to make the film, set for August 15th, stand out from endless Grudge retreads.

Word has gotten around that the teaser trailer for Mirrors received a big laughing ovation at yesterday’s press screening for The Happening. And while the teaser definitely clings to the exhausted tropes of countless sub-par Korean horror remaks starring various Buffies (the film is a loose remake of 2003′s Into the Mirrors), I’m interested to see it.

Sure, the token spooky kid warrants an eye-roll lasting two hours but I’m betting that writer/director Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) delivers some unsuspecting, legitimate scares and original visuals. Aja possesses a fresh eye and passion for R-rated horror that is sorely lacking in the genre and, talent often attributed to the louder, hokier Eli Roth or Saw XII. And if Mirrors sucks, Aja has Pirahna 3D scheduled for next summer and early buzz for that one is [drum-roll] anti-suck.

Shock has a new video clip for Mirrors as well featuring Aja discussing the film’s influences (The Shining, of course) and if you only watch one of these, check it out instead. There’s a worrisome exploding mirrors climax with star Kiefer Sutherland (as a mall security guard) that belongs on VH1 Classics, but also a collection of freaky, nightmarish flinches that don’t appear in the teaser below and do their job.

Mirrors opens on August 15th.

Discuss: Am I way off? Is Mirrors more of the Grudge/Ring blahs, or might Aja bring something new to a summer horror matinee to bookend seasonal sleeper The Strangers? Please, no jokes about co-star Amy Smart and the need for mirrors in Crank.

First Look: Kiefer Sutherland in Mirrors

First Look: Kiefer Sutherland in Mirrors

20th Century Fox has released the first batch of photos for Alexandre Aja‘s Mirrors. Kiefer Sutherland plays Ben Carson, an ex-cop turned night security guard at a long-closed department store ravaged by fire. Carson discovers that the store’s mirrors harbor a horrific secret that threatens him and his family. Aja is the writer/director behind the 2003 french horror/thriller High Tension. Sutherland hasn’t starred in a great movie since… what, 1998′s Dark City? Chances this could suck: 62.67%. Chances this could be awesome: 5.74%. I’m sure a trailer is upcoming.

Mirrors

Mirrors

Mirrors

Mirrors is set to hit theaters on August 15th 2008.

Alexandre Aja’s Piranha Goes 3D

piranha-2.jpg

We at /Film haven’t mentioned Alexandre Aja‘s 2009 remake of Piranha until now, but something about this project feels incredibly spot-on to me. As Mickey Knox would say with a deranged grin and a smack of his chewing gum: “It’s fate.” STYD has received word that the film will now be shown theatrically in 3D. Are we really going to be privy to reaching out and swatting away thousands of fresh water Jaws imitators chewing viciously at the knees of nubile, arrogant life guards? Even if you think the yo-yo scene in Friday the 13th Part III was a complete jip, and passed on Beowulf, how can you not want to see this?

Here’s a list of reasons to persuade you: 1) Aja’s High Tension had several beautifully intense, stylish, macabre and original scenes for a modern horror film, but he lost control of the film’s more serious tone. Piranhas are tone-deaf. 2) The release is July 24th, 2009, which is perfect. Summer camps, rope swings over the water, night swims et al. Tis the season of Jaws, tis the times of less adventurous, more localized family summering. And in these movie months of overcompensating comic book movies et al, Piranha already has a built-in old school charm we’ve long missed. More $200 million robot drama? Another movie based on toys? I want to watch a 3D movie where huge audiences continually scream and laugh at killer fish. 3) It’s a remake and while the 1978 Joe Danta/John Sayles original has its champions (and it’s worth a watch), c’mon, this is not sacrilege. This movie needs to be remade. This movie was made to be remade. 5) The log line: “In Lake Havasu, Arizona, a tremor causes the lake’s floor to open, setting free scores of prehistoric piranhas.” 6) Piranha-vision 7) Sharks finally get a vacation. 8) What a ticket-stub.

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