Rated R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use, 89 minutes
"Piranha 3D" is...surprise!...entertaining fish food
As TV character Gomer Pyle often exclaimed: "Well surprise, surprise, surprise!" That would sum up exactly the feelings on the schlocky, violent, but vastly entertaining new horror film "Piranha 3D." It literally flies in the face of critics by not being screened in advance but still turns out to be quite fun and providing what you've always wanted to see in 3D: lots of boobs, blood and killer fish.
Each year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for the annual Spring Break. But then, a sudden underwater earthquake opens an underwater chasm, releasing an enormous swarm of mutant, ancient Piranha that have been dormant for thousands of years, now with a taste for human flesh. This year, there's something more to worry about than the usual hangovers and complaints from locals, a new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria.
"Piranha 3D" is a gory update on the bad "Piranha" horror films from the 1970's that interestingly helped give some early experience to a couple of noted directors: Joe Dante ("Gremlins") and James Cameron ("Avatar"), yes that James Cameron, who as a side note was fired during the filming of his "Piranha" film. What works in "Piranha 3D's" favor are some great special effects, well-used 3D for a change and a high-level of energy that keep the film moving at fast pace.
In addition, a serviceable horror film director, Alexandre Aja ("The Hills Have Eyes" remake), should be commended for assembling a decent cast, including Elisabeth Shue as a sheriff ala "Jaws," character actor Adam Scott, Jerry O' Connell as a slimeball porn director and Ving Rhames as a deputy. Watch for a handful of amusing cameos, including Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss, sending up his "Jaws" character in a big way in the film's prologue and briefly, very briefly, watch closely and you'll also see horror film director and actor Eli Roth (director of the upcoming "The Last Exorcism").
Story, characters and dialogue aren't worth mentioning, but the nifty special-effects, those human-chomping fish, appear awfully big and mean and can bring down anything in a second. They chomp on everything that gets in the way, including the many big boobs that appear on screen and one male appendage that is particularly amusing. All of it's ridiculous, preposterous and ridiculously enjoyable, taken as cheesy, horror-film schlock.
What is most surprising about "Piranha 3D" is that it doesn't suck as much as you think it might be, given the cornball title, plot and characters. So, in a bit of a surprise, I actually do recommend it if you enjoy cheesy, fun horror and the sight of all those fish heartily chomping on their human food. Guilty-pleasure entertainment at its best, don't take "Piranha 3D" too seriously and you might end up having a good time.