Elisabeth Shue in Piranha 3D (2010)


(director: Alexandre Aja; screenwriters: Peter Goldfinger/Josh Stolberg; cinematographer: John R. Leonetti; editor: Baxter; music: Michael Wandmacher; cast: Elisabeth Shue (Julie Forester), Steven R McQueen (Jake), Adam Scott (Novak), Jerry O’Connell (Derrick Jones), Kelly Brook (Danni), Ving Rhames (Deputy Fallon), Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Boyd), Jessica Szohr (Kelly), Eli Roth (Wet T-Shirt Host), Riley Steele (Crystal), Paul Scheer (Andrew), Brooklynn Proulx (Laura Forester), Sage Ryan (Zane Forester), Christopher Lloyd (Carl Goodman); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mark Canton/Marc Toberoff/Grégory Levasseur/Alexandre Aja; Dimension Films; 2010)

“Nothing more than a fun summer popcorn movie.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This summer’s bloodiest horror film is a complete re-working of Joe Dante’s more imaginative and politically smart 1978 Piranha original. Piranha 3D charges a higher ticket price for its gimmicky 3D (albeit, it’s well-done here which might justify to some the price hike), and tacks on a multitude of boob shots and a healthy portion of gore for those who like their silly horror pics with lots of blood on the side. The fishy flick, filled with tongue-in-cheek cornball low-brow humor, is nothing more than a fun summer popcorn movie; if you will, a guilty pleasure, that brings on a thousand prehistoric piranha attacking a crowded beach community, an eye-popping Wet T-Shirt contest and is deliciously shot at beautiful but sweltering Lake Havasu, Ariz. (in the film called the fictional Lake Victoria, Ariz.). The French born horror maven Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”/”High Tension”/”Mirrors”) gleefully helms this exploitation pic with gratuitous nudity and violence and has it cover the same beach scares as Jaws.

An underground earthquake cracks the lake floor open and releases digital prehistoric baby piranha into Lake Victoria during the “spring break” for college students, who pack the Lake Victoria resort to let off steam, act stupid and supply the resort with enough tourist money so they think it’s worth the trouble having the sex-crazed kids come down every year (come to think of it, this is probably the film’s target audience!).

The earnest local sheriff, Julie Forester (Elizabeth Shue), is a single parent with a hunky teen son Jake (Steven R McQueen) and two small children named Zane (Sage Ryan) and Laura (Brooklynn Proulx). Julie’s ordered to escort a team of scientists, led by the responsible Novak (Adam Scott), who are to access the effects of the tremor by diving underwater into the shoals. As a result of this extra-duty assignment, Julie orders Jake to babysit and not let the kids out of the house and out of his sight. But naughty Jake bribes the kids to go it alone while he gets hired by sleazeball porn “Wild Wild Girls” videographer Derrick (Jerry O’Connell) to locate spots to film some softcore porn with hotties Danni (Kelly Brook, British glamor model) and Crystal (Riley Steele, real-life porn star) aboard his pleasure boat. Also along for the boat ride and the porn shoot is the nice gal Kelly (Jessica Szohr), the local tease Jake is trying to hook up with again after going steady in high school.

Before you can say it looks like Jaws with 3D, the CGI-created piranha are attacking and the lake is turning red. If you get tired at looking at the blood, there’s always a boob shot in the works and some trite banter to digest and there’s even an in-joke cameo of Richard Dreyfuss as a drunken fisherman dressed like he was in his ‘Jaws’ role.


REVIEWED ON 8/20/2010 GRADE: B-   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/