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Piranha 3D


Stars: Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Kelly Brook, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Eli Roth, Christopher Lloyd, Steven R McQueen, Riley Steel, Jessica Szohr

Director: Alexandre Aja

Forget Bwana Devil’s legendary long-ago 3D offer of “A lion in your lap”. Here, in a perfect popcorn picture, breasts, beasts and even a whirring outboard motor are flung in your face as giant prehistoric piranhas, released by an earthquake in a lake in Arizona, lay bloody waste to youthful revellers gathered there for the Spring Break.

Stir in a movie crew making a porn film (thus justifying an underwater ballet by two beautiful nude women), kids in peril and Sheriff Shue boldly going where no man had been before and you have an ideal mix – babes, boobs and blood – for a crowd-pleasing monster movie enlivened by an acidly enjoyable black sense of humour and well-used 3D cinematography.

French director Aja, who effectively remade Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, keeps the action going briskly, suspense is strong, there are acres of blood-stained water, plentiful carnage and grisly black jokes like the attacked woman who being carried to safety who comes apart like a cracker being pulled. Yes, the horror movie certainly earns its ‘18’ certificate. Nevertheless its huge helping of eye candy and tacky humour should make it a potential pleasure for moviegoers other than horrorflick fanatics.

The opening – Dreyfuss dressed as his character for Jaws and singing (take ‘singing’ in its broadest sense) “Show Me the Way to Go Home”, sits in a boat in the middle of the lake and is attacked, Susan Backlinie-style, by piranhas – spoofs Jaws beautifully and, if you should detect a whining on the soundtrack, it might just be Steven Spielberg moaning, since here the CGI-generated killer fish are bloodily convincing and make Spielberg’s celebrated great white shark look like – well, like a large mechanical monster.

Performances are just fine, too, and ideally in line with the genre. And the cherry on top of this gore-soaked confection has to be Lloyd's hilariously over-the-top ichthyologist: he hams it up even better than, say, Simon Callow could have done.

Alan Frank

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour.
88 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 20 Aug 2010