Piranha 3D (R18)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/08/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

Brilliantly cast, gleefully gory and featuring more nudity than is probably strictly necessary, this is a hugely enjoyable creature feature with terrific 3D effects.

What's it all about?
Directed by Alexandre Aja, Piranha 3D stars Elisabeth Shue as Arizona sheriff Julie Forester, who's gearing up for a chaotic spring break weekend full of partying, half-naked young people at Lake Victoria. However, when a group of seismologists discover that a recent earthquake has released a school of ravenous prehistoric piranha into the lake, Julie realises she has to get everyone out of the water before the nibbly little blighters start eating people.

Meanwhile, Julie's teenage son Jake (Steven R McQueen) bails on baby-sitting his younger siblings (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan) in favour of hanging out on a boat with a sleazy porn director (Jerry O'Connell), two hot porn stars (Britain's own Kelly Brook and porn star Riley Steele), an over-enthusiastic cameraman (Paul Scheer) and the girl he has a huge crush on (Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr).

The Good
The film is superbly cast and features crowd-pleasing cameos from the likes of Richard Dreyfuss (sporting the same first name and singing the same song as his character from Jaws) and Christopher Lloyd (brilliantly channelling Doc Brown as icthyologist Mr Goodman). Shue makes an excellent lead and there's strong support from O'Connell, Brook, Adam Scott (as leading seismologist Kovak) and Ving Rhames as Julie's no-nonsense deputy.

As you'd expect, the film is packed with delightfully gory, imaginatively staged fish-based deaths and Aja makes great use of the 3D effects, notably in a sequence where a piranha chews its way through someone's face from the inside out. There is also more nudity than you can possibly imagine, the highlight of which is an extra star-earning underwater lesbian ballet sequence that is simultaneously a homage to both the famous nude underwater swimming scene in 1934's Tarzan and His Mate and a similar scene in Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

The Bad
That's not to say the film is without problems – several death scenes are poorly directed and lack the dramatic impact they should have had, while there are some shockingly bad continuity errors (e.g. Scheer's character just disappears). It's also a shame the film couldn't incorporate the distinctive and chilling piranha noise from the original 1978 film.

Worth seeing?
This is an enormous amount of fun, thanks to a superb cast, terrific special effects and a veritable smorgasbord of gore and nudity. Great final scene, too.

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Content updated: 07/12/2019 22:58

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