directed by Alexandre Aja
(Dimension, 2010)

Sometimes one wonders how certain films get made.

Piranha, which I watched reluctantly and with low expectations, is one of those films. In many ways, it's your typical low-budget, nature-gone-wild gore-fest, with countless spring-breaking teens and your usual dose of nude and scantily clad women falling victim to toothy predators. And yet, it scored big in the casting department, with roles (some admittedly quite brief) going to the likes of Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Dina Meyer, Steven R. McQueen, Eli Roth and, in an obvious shout-out to Jaws, Richard Dreyfuss. Are they so desperate for work?

The plot is simple. An earthquake opens an underwater cavern in Arizona, releasing thousands of hungry prehistoric piranha into a popular spring-break destination lake just as throngs of boozin' and sexin' young people descend on the scene. A well-meaning sheriff tries to clear the water but it's tourist season and no one pays heed. And then, people get et.

The movie has middling special effects at best, relying on camp humor, gallons of blood and plenty of boobs to make its point. If you're a member of that target audience, go wild.

review by
Tom Knapp

16 September 2017

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