There's only a handful of reasons you'd be going to see Piranha 3D: blood, gore, and tits, and all three of those things in stereoscopic glory. Piranha 3D holds fast to the lineage of its predecessors, Joe Dante's 1978 Roger Corman production of Piranha and James Cameron's 1981 sequel, Piranha 2: The Spawning.
Why mention those two films? Well, for one, even though Piranha 3D is more of a reboot, it can be seen as the third installment in a trilogy, but more importantly, to point out that none of these films are in the same tier of cinematic mastery as Steven Speilberg's seminal 1975 blockbuster Jaws. What the Piranha films have always been, however, are exploitative ripoffs of Speilberg's trend-setting work.
So, if you're in the market to see a movie like Piranha 3D, you're probably not expecting Oscar nominations, despite the cast's pandering to the Academy in the hilarious For Your Consideration video. No, if you're going to see Piranha 3D, you're in the market to see Lake Havasu Spring Break get turned into a meat grinder. And you won't be disappointed.
Piranha 3D may be the bloodiest movie ever made. No, literally, the production apparently burned through an obscene 7,000 gallons of fake blood, and had tanker trucks on set filled with the crimson liquid. Add that to the masterful work of effects team Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, whose shredded body parts look so realistic, the film was banned from being shown at the 2010 Comic-Con.
And then there's the second most important reason to see Alex Aja's latest gore-fest: nudity. This is definitely a man's movie. Let me rephrase that, this is every horny teenager's wet dream. You don't just get choice boobage from the likes of Kelly Brook and a vast array of other hot college girls, you get to see everything literally pop out at you in 3D! For distributor Dimension Films, this was clearly a no-brainer.
And last but not least, we get to the cast. Look, churning a lake full of half-naked party chicks into fish bait isn't nearly as fun when it's a cast of nobodies. Thankfully, Aja has populated his film with a lot of familiar faces. We get Elisabeth Shue as the headstrong town sheriff, Ving Rhames as her ass-kicking deputy, Jerry O'Connell as a sleazy Joe Francis (Girls Gone Wild) ripoff, Christopher LLoyd as an aquarium owner who's nuttier than Doc Brown, and even Eli Roth as a wet t-shirt contest emcee. Young TV stars Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl) and Steven R. McQueen (Vampire Diaries) get thrown in the mix, and the film wouldn't be complete without a cameo by Richard Dreyfuss, which directly references his role in Jaws at the outset of the film.
Whether the acting is good or bad is neither here nor there, all you need is for the performances to be believable enough to enjoy the ride. Luckily enough, the cast does one better and adds an extra layer to an otherwise campy horror premise, while Aja's use of 3D redefines the term "eye-popping", though not because the stereoscopic conversion is really stellar. I'll let you figure that one out on your own.
Between this film, High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes, I'm starting to wonder if Aja is actually a sadist. If it wasn't for each of his movies adhering to a certain modicum of character development, I'd say the only reason he makes movies is to experiment with new ways to kill people. His M.O. probably isn't to scare the living shit out of you, seeing as how Piranha is way more "fun" than it is scary. I use the term "fun" loosely here, because I know not everyone enjoys seeing flesh-eating monsters shred people to the bone like Looney Tunes' Tazmanian Devil. But if that's what you're in the market for, then there's plenty of gore-drenched scenery to be chewed.
If you're a fan of the genre, Piranha 3D is definitely recommended. If not, go see Nanny McPhee with the rest of the sissies.