Release Date
August 20, 2010
Alexandre Aja
Pete Goldfinger
Josh Stolberg
Distributed By
Dimension Films
$24 million
Comedy, Horror, Thriller
Rated R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use
88 minutes

Piranha 3D

Either the money was good or the stars of “Piranha 3D” have truly fallen off the deep end. Shue, Scott, Lloyd, and Dreyfuss are too successful to be slumming in this caricature of a relevant horror remake. The graphics are obviously better than the original, 30 plus years later, but otherwise this film should have dropped the big stars, added more adult entertainers, and simply become pornography.

Blood, booze, and boobs are the basis of good horror these days, at least that is what Hollywood would have you believe. I have mixed feelings about the presence of Eli Roth in both the producer credits and the actual cast of the film (he plays a squirt gun operator that gets his head smashed by a frantic boater). Roth glorified the gore thriller with “Hostel” and appears to be inspiring more directors to follow in his footsteps. Roth’s horror had the three B’s but contained one important factor: Horror!

Roth’s “Hostel” was gritty and grainy, compelling and fresh. Yes, it made you want to throw up at times and tested the willingness of audiences to continue watching a film, but it was handled with a grace of a master painter, sketching a picture of society and how far it could fall. “Piranha 3D” is none of that.

“Piranha 3D” fails on all levels of horror. Classic horror is dated and unpolished, but contains a humor at what was considered horror in the past. The original will make you laugh from outdated slang to the dramatic performances from all those involved. “Piranha 3D” fails to even cause a laugh. The film ultimately left me scratching my head and asking one important (at least I think so) question. Why does a woman’s top need to come off before she is then decapitated or eaten alive?

To further delve into this somewhat juvenile question, I do not understand the cheap thrill. Perhaps on a higher level, Hollywood is trying to demoralize the idea of “private” parts. Or perhaps they know the only reason people will watch this film will be for the lewd and nude encounters. Why else would they depict a piranha eating a male’s reproductive organ and then spitting it out at the “audience” (remember, this was a 3D film)? I am, by no means, a conservative person and understand the idea that “sex sells”. But to what importance to cinema does “Piranha 3D” exist if not to be R-rated pornography? (Speaking of pornography, “Piranha 3DD (Double D)” comes out this year).

More or less, “Piranha 3D” is a failure of not only horror and remakes, but of movie making in general. Not to say pornography cannot be well portrayed. But for a film that was marked as a legitimate film, it completely flops. Had it taken my advice and dove into the NC-17 or X-Rated route, then perhaps the adult entertainment industry would have awarded it like they did the likes of “Pirates”. Otherwise, I strongly worry for Elisabeth Shue (who has been nominated for an Academy Award in her lifetime), Adam Scott (who has a huge and bright future ahead of him), Christopher Lloyd (who does not need to start a decline this far in his career), and Richard Dreyfuss (who should not destroy the legacy that he built with “Jaws” with some childish attempt at horror and humor).


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