Main cast: Elisabeth Shue (Sheriff Julie Forester), Adam Scott (Novak), Ving Rhames (Deputy Fallon), Jerry O’Connell (Derrick Jones), Steve R McQueen (Jake Forester), Brooklynn Proulx (Laura Forester), Kelly Brook (Danni Arslow), Riley Steele (Crystal Shepard), Paul Scheer (Andrew Cunningham), Jessica Szohr (Kelly Driscoll), and Christopher Lloyd (Carl Goodman)
Director: Alexandre Aja
This version of Piranha 3D is very loosely based on the 1978 film Piranha, so much so that the only thing truly similar is that both movies feature ravenous piranhas out for a fresh meat buffet.
In this movie, we have the sane law enforcer, Sheriff Julie Forester, who is not too happy when the movie begins because her town by Lake Victoria is about to be assaulted by marauding hordes of hormonal teenagers in time for Spring Break. We also have the town official who doesn’t care if Godzilla comes to eat everyone as long as the reputation of the town is intact and the tourists keep coming, the crazy guy who turns out to be telling the truth about the monster, the annoying children that keep getting into trouble, and more. Yes, this film is monster movie cliché overload.
Julie’s son Jake is looking forward to the lakeside shenanigans of Spring Break, as he is reunited with his crush Kelly. Even better, Derrick Jones, a producer of Girls Gone Wild-type films, is looking for a guide to show him and his two actresses around. Jake is, er, up for the job, and Kelly tags along too. In order to keep his mother in the dark about his extracurricular activities, he bribes his sister Laura, whom he’s supposed to be babysitting, into silence. Laura and her friend decide to go fishing on their own.
Now, isn’t this a grand time for the piranhas to show up and start munching on horny teen flesh?
Piranha 3D is not afraid to go completely over the top, gleefully presenting scene after scene of utter gore and mayhem interspersed by unashamedly gratuitous female nudity and lipstick lesbian antics. Director Alexandre Aja is like a kid let loose in a candy store – there is no scene too tasteless for him. Everything is good to go, so much so that I just have to laugh at how horrible this movie is. Indeed, this movie audaciously flaunts its badness on its sleeves, reveling in its awfulness and daring me to take a bite (ahem), that I can’t help but to go along and actually have fun in the process.
Julie is a decent heroine, and if she’s rather bland, that’s because she’s the rare sane person in this movie. Everyone else is nuts. It’s just too bad that most of the fun characters are killed off quickly, while the genuinely annoying too-stupid please-die characters keep lingering around like a bad stench that won’t go away. If this situation had been reversed and the fun characters last longer, this movie would have been the guilty pleasure to savor in shame. As it is, this one is unbelievably stupid, utterly pointless, needless gory, and ridiculously over the top… and that’s just some of its charms.