Movie Review


There's Something in the Water
Piranha Movie Poster

US Release Date: 08-20-2010

Directed by: Alexandre Aja


  • Richard Dreyfuss
  • Matt Boyd
  • Ving Rhames
  • Deputy Fallon
  • Elisabeth Shue
  • Julie Forester
  • Christopher Lloyd
  • Mr. Goodman
  • Eli Roth
  • Wet T-Shirt Host
  • Jerry O'Connell
  • Derrick Jones
  • Steven R. McQueen
  • Jake Forester
  • Jessica Szohr
  • Kelly
  • Kelly Brook
  • Danni
  • Riley Steele
  • Crystal
  • Adam Scott
  • Novak
  • Ricardo Chavira
  • Sam Montez
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: August 20th, 2010
Steven R. McQueen and Jessica Szohr.

Steven R. McQueen and Jessica Szohr.

Do not be fooled by Richard Dreyfuss getting top billing.  He opens the movie in a cameo, in what is an obvious nod to the grandaddy of horror fish film, Jaws.    He is fishing on a lake in Arizona, when an earthquake hits, opening a passage form an under ground lake to the one he is fishing in.  This releases a school of prehistoric piranhas into a lake filled with, on spring break, college partiers. 

The local sheriff is single mom Julie.  She has her 17 year old son watch his much younger brother and sister while she goes to see what is going on in the lake.  He splits as soon as she leaves as he has just gotten a job with Girls Gone Wild, to act as a navigator for them to film some porn on a boat on the lake.   His brother and sister likewise leave, and go fishing.  Everyone ends up on the lake.  The piranha attack and the water turns red.  Mom and her children all meet up on the lake as all of their companions are getting killed off.

Besides Dreyfuss, the cast is a bit of a potpourri.  Shue was once noted for her dramatic acting but is here playing the straight role in a "B" movie.  Steven McQueen is Hollywood royalty, as he is the grandson of Steve McQueen.

The interest of this film will is based on the gore, gratuitous nudity and the 3D gimmick.  The best gore scene involves O'Connel having his penis eaten by a piranha.  There is a particular skinny dipping scene that is worth seeing.    The 3D is barely even noticeable.  It is the films biggest selling point, but really adds little.

Reviewed on: August 21st, 2010
Girls get wild in Piranha 3-D.

Girls get wild in Piranha 3-D.

There are several Jaws references in Dreyfuss's appearance.  His costume is the same as his Jaws costume.  His name is Matt in both films.  He sings "Show Me the Way to Go Home" here, which they sang in Jaws.  And he's drinking Amity beer here, which was of course the name of the island where Jaws was set.  It's a nice little tribute and the plots of both films are similar, but while Piranha is fun at times, it never approaches the greatness of Jaws.

This movie features a ton of gore and carnage.  Quite possibly the most gore I've ever seen in a film.  During one scene in particular when the piranha go into a frenzy in a crowded area of the lake, there are blood, guts, dismemberment and gore galore.  But, and this might sound odd, it's all done in a fun way.  You're not meant to be sickened or horrified but rather laugh with shock at the audacity of it all.  The penis scene, you mention Eric is a good example of that, as is the moment when the silocone implants float up from the remains of the dead Wild Girl star.

Likewise the nudity, which is fairly abundant for a mainstream movie, isn't really meant to arouse.  It's not erotic, but is instead so in your face that your first instinct is to laugh.  You can still enjoy it, and I agree with you Eric, the skinny-dipping scene in particular is a real highlight.

While I enjoyed this movie and thought it was fun, it's not the kind of movie where you really care about any of the characters.   There isn't anyone who dies in the movie that you'll mourn or even care about.  The script isn't strong enough to create any kind of emotional bond between the audience and the characters.

I also agree with you Eric that the 3-D is surprisngly underused.  It was played up so heavily in the previews that I thought it would add tremendously to the fun, but it really adds nothing extra except a few dollars to the price of your ticket.

If you go into this movie just looking to have a good time and are prepared to see several scenes of nudity (although no sex) and bucket loads of blood and guts, then you won't be disappointed.

Reviewed on: November 3rd, 2012
Jerry O'Connell gets attacked by Piranha.

Jerry O'Connell gets attacked by Piranha.

This Piranha pays homage to Jaws just as the original version did back in 1978. The unprecedented success of Jaws launched an entire genre of one word titled thrillers based on an exaggerated version of a real-life predator. Does anyone remember Grizzly, Tentacles, or Orca? Piranha was the most successful copycat. Like Jaws it spawned a franchise of its own. As of this writing there have been a total of five Piranha movies; the original movie was followed by Piranha II: The Spawning in 1981, a remake in 1995, then comes this version, which had a sequel of its own released this past summer.

The cast of familiar faces is definitely in on the joke. Jerry O'Connell revels in the chance to parody “Girls Gone Wild” mogul Joe Francis (who threatened legal action against the filmmakers). In addition to Richard Dreyfuss's cameo, there is one by Christopher Lloyd, which was a reunion of sorts for him and Elisabeth Shue.  They had last appeared onscreen together 20 years earlier in Back to the Future Part III.

My one complaint with this movie is that it's a bit too relentlessly heterosexual. I've never spent so much time staring at female breasts in my life. Two naked women swimming together... Yawn. The one penis on display in the entire movie is CGI and is shown in the grossest possible manner. It gets swallowed, chewed on and then burped back up by a prehistoric fish. Eeeww!

For those of us not into all the tits and ass on display the real selling point of the movie is the gore. Having seen director Alexandre Aja's slasher masterpiece High Tension, I was mentally prepared for all the carnage, which Scott so aptly referred to as audacious. There's so much of it that it eventually proves desensitizing. They have to keep upping the ante until there's pretty much nowhere left to go but to the aforementioned obligatory penis munching scene.

Piranha is one giant non-stop camp/gore fest. In fact, it's about as subtle as a thirty foot billboard covered in blinking neon lights spelling out the words TITS and GORE in capital letters. And believe me that isn't false advertising.

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