Combustible Celluloid
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With: Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Jerry O'Connell, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Kelly Brook, Riley Steele, Adam Scott, Ricardo Chavira, Dina Meyer, Paul Scheer, Brooklynn Proulx, Sage Ryan, Cody Longo, Brian Kubach
Written by: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 88
Date: 20/08/2010

Piranha 3D (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Fish Story

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Alexandre Aja Piranha 3D has just the right tone of playfulness, even though it's not specifically a parody or a commentary on horror films, as Joe Dante's original Piranha (1978) was. It's more reminiscent of fun, B movies like Anaconda and Lake Placid. It has a sunny, summery feel with clear, sharp cinematography, strong visual effects, and fine use of 3D. The cast is an above-average bunch, including Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss (a veteran of Jaws, of course) in a strong opening scene.

In a small town, an underwater tremor frees a school of prehistoric man-eating piranhas just as thousands of partying teens begin arriving for Spring Break on the lake. Sheriff Forester (Elisabeth Shue) heads out with a team of scientists (led by Adam Scott) to figure out what's going on. Meanwhile, her teenage son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen), is supposed to be watching his younger brother and sister. But instead, he's accepted a job working for a porn director (Jerry O'Connell). These characters and others find themselves stuck in the water as the vicious fish begin their relentless attacks. Can the sheriff find a way to stop the fish and save the town?

The movie does veer into some very mature territory, killing the mood with a particularly horrifying post-carnage scene in which wounded, half-devoured teens limp out of the water, bones and blood and hanging flesh on display. It further crosses the line when one cowardly teen tries to escape and runs over several people with his motorboat. And then there are the two small children who get caught up in the fray... But aside from these moments, Piranha 3D is generally out for a good, gruesome time, and it mostly delivers.

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