Studio: Dimension Films
Plot: An earthquake tears open the bottom of a lake releasing millions of carnivorous piranhas.
Cast: Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Steven R. McQueen, Elisabeth Shue
Bottom Line: ***
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
There's something deadly in the water, something snarly and scary.
No question about it - the piranha with its serrated teeth, black-socket eyes and streamlined shape is fearsome, and you don't want it around.
The latest 3-D flick to hit the screens, the almost comical storyline follows several teenagers during spring break in Lake Victoria, Arizona, who are all partying it up in the water with plenty of booze, bad behavior and breasts on display. After a dead body washes up on shore (Richard Dreyfuss, who is attacked in the opening scene), Sheriff Forester (Elisabeth Shue) and Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) attempt to close the lake, but of course no one listens, and as the hard-hearing teens cavort in the crystal clear waters, the killer flesh-eating piranhas make their debut.
Once the slithery killers start looking for another bite to eat, the flick takes off and moves at supersonic speed with the little munchkins nibbling their way through anything and everything that steps foot in the water – silicon boobs, private parts and all. There’s even a comical shot of the piranha biting a certain male body part, and actually spitting it out in disgust. Carnage is “Piranha 3-D’s” hallmark, for there’s death by decapitation, disembowelment and electrocution.
Rhames, as the hard-barking deputy has only a few scenes, but gets to have some fishy action when he uses the boat’s motor to slice off a few piranhas. The main character is Jake (Steven R. McQueen), Forester’s son, who shrugs off his babysitting duties, leaving his young siblings at home for some lake action. As expected, the bored youngsters take off on their own boating expedition, get stranded, and mission becomes to save everyone from the snarling water beasts.
“Piranha 3-D” does not take itself seriously. There's a scene where Forester plunges in the water to pull out the mangled fisherman’s body, but in the next frame as she studies the body, she's bone dry. Despite the enhanced 3-D imagery, you are not going to be ducking flying piranhas and mangled body parts, for the extra dimension doesn't punch-up the impact of the human slaughter. Nevertheless, it does manage to sustain the viewer's interest for the entirety of its appreciatively brisk running time and ultimately delivers where it counts.
This human sushi fest, which plays like a rendition of “Jaws” in 3-D targeted at teens, is wickedly funny while still generating nail-biting suspense and easily earns its well-deserved R rating, due to all the wanton gore, extreme nudity, sex and violence.
This article was printed in the September 12, 2010 - September 25, 2010 edition in the blackflix.com column.