Piranha – DVD Review
By Patrick Luce Jan 12, 2011, 14:33 GMT
After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the areas new razor-toothed residents. ...more
Provided you get in the water knowing what to expect, Piranha is a gory good time of a horror film. The movie has a very thin plot, cheesy dialogue and over-the-top gore thanks to its very hungry fish.
Thankfully, Piranha knows what it is and doesn’t strive to be anything more than entertaining.
Piranha (which is also available as Piranha 3D for the Blu-ray 3D format) is not really a remake of the original 1978 film of the same name (which was directed by Joe Dante), but does manage to capture the spirit of the film – a silly plot and the crazed fish being treated like the biggest aquatic screen villain since a certain shark joined Chrissie for a late night swim.
The film was directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes remake) and actually featured a cast of talented actors including Jerry O'Connell, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Kelly Brook, Ricardo Chavira, Dina Meyer, Riley Steele, Eli Roth and Ving Rhames. Richard Dreyfuss (sporting his look from Jaws) and Christopher Lloyd (seeming as mad as Doc Brown) also pop up for a few fun scenes.
The film is set in the quiet Lake Victoria area – which is the hot spot for Spring Break fun and is overrun by 50,000 drunken college kids on the lake for a good time. Attempting to control the chaos is Sheriff Julie Forester (Shue) and Deputy Fallon (Rhames) – who have to go in search of missing fisherman Matt Boyd (Dreyfuss) after an earthquake.
What the two don’t know is that the earthquake released a ton of prehistoric piranha that were trapped underground. Once they were released, the fish were very hungry and Boyd made for a nice snack. Now the fish are headed for Spring Break to party and enjoy the buffet.
Back in town, Julie’s son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) wants to get in on the Spring Break fun, and hopefully hook up with the girl of his dreams Kelly (Jessica Szohr). Along the way, he also meets sleazy video director Derrick Jones (O'Connell) - who is in town to capture all the drunken depravity and make a quick buck on the thousands of scantily clad college girls.
Jake forgets about Kelly for a bit after he is introduced to Jones’ star Danni (Brook), and agrees to show Derrick the best places on the lake to film his movie.
After a quick bribe to his younger siblings, Laura (Brooklynn Proulx) and Zane (Sage Ryan), to get out of babysitting duty without mom finding out, Jake heads out on the water for what he hopes is a day that will help him forget about Kelly – who shocks him by joining the party.
Julie also heads out on the water with seismologist divers Novak (Scott), Sam (Chavira), and Paula (Meyer) to find out the cause of the earthquake. These scenes basically just serve as a way for Julie to discover the lake is filled with deadly piranha and also introduce the film’s other hero Novak.
Doc Brown, I mean marine biologist and pet store owner Carl Goodman (Lloyd) gives the needed background on the prehistoric fish so that our heroes know what they are getting into. Unfortunately, they discover the truth right about the same time the piranha decide it is lunch time and drunken naked college kids are on the menu.
Aja knows his film is light on plot so he makes sure to load up on the gore as swimmers make a mad dash for the shore, but not before thousands of body parts are bit, torn, and ripped apart for our viewing pleasure.
Jake and company are also attacked by a group of piranha giving O’Connell a chance to do some fine acting and Aja a chance to show a fish hacking up a penis (yes, you read that right).
Some more suspense is added to the film as Jake’s boat (which now also holds his brother and sister) starts to sink, and Julie has to save the day before they all become fish food.
While Piranha is not the greatest movie ever made and more than likely won’t become a classic of the horror genre, the film is fun to watch – just turn the brain off before hitting play. The film knows what it is and revels in its excess of gore, boobs, and silly fish with big teeth.
Part of the fun of the movie is how serious all the actors seem to be taking what is happening on screen. Shue makes a convincing mother who is trying to save her town and her children. While she doesn’t have a lot to do in the film (other than drive the boat, and cross a rope dangling above the piranha), she seems at ease in the horror hero role.
O’Connell’s character has to be one of the most annoying people to show up on screen, but the actor seems to be having a blast playing him. It is clear from the second he comes on screen that he is destined to be fish food, and the more annoying he gets the more you find yourself hoping the piranha will swim along.
Scott also does a good job in the film, but seems a tad out of place. Some of his line delivery falls flat, and the actor doesn’t really fit in this kind of horror film. Still, he has a great moment at the end of the movie – which I think was a perfect way to end it.
Although it is filled with stars, Piranha’s real attraction is its prehistoric fish, and Aja puts the killers right in your face. The director has never been shy about pushing the limits of how much is too much gore in a horror film, and Piranha is filled with moments that might make some squeamish viewers look away.
While the film might be loaded with gore, the DVD is extremely light on special features. The DVD comes with commentary and five behind-the-scenes features, but that is it.
Piranha is an entertaining movie from start to finish, but it does require the viewer to get in on the fun by not expecting the next Jaws. It doesn’t try to be a classic or something that is not easily forgettable. It is simply a fun time and a film meant for horror fans who love their gore without the need for something like a believable plot.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CAdam Scott Biography -
Adam Scott Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesElisabeth Shue Biography -
Elisabeth Shue Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesKelly Brook Biography -
Kelly Brook Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesRiley Steele Biography -
Riley Steele Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
COMMENT on Piranha – DVD Reviewcomments powered by Disqus
Latest Headlines in DVD
- 1. Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary – Blu-ray Review
- 2. Barrymore - Blu-ray Review
- 3. Win Teen Wolf: Season 2 on DVD!
- 4. Once Upon a Time, Scandal, Nashville and Grey’s Anatomy head to DVD and Blu-ray
- 5. Texas Chainsaw – Blu-ray Review