MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
During spring break weekend, Lake Victoria’s populations grows from 5,000 townies to 50,000 partying kids. However, during the biggest week of the year, an underground fault releases a school of vicious, man-eating piranha that spread over the lake and start to make fish food of the locals and tourists alike.
WHAT I LIKED
I absolutely love it when a movie knows exactly what it’s trying to accomplish. That might seem like a statement of the obvious, but it’s not always the case. Screwball comedies try to have a cute message at the end all the time. Slasher movies try to make a political or sociological statement from time to time. And what should be mindless entertainment has all-too-often tried to go for the lesson to be learned (most recently seen in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete”).
The joy of Alexandre Aja’s “Piranha” is that he is accomplishing nothing but a bloody entertaining good time, with a nice dose of tits and ass in the process. Does this make me an exploitative pig? Probably, but I’m okay with that.
“Piranha” isn’t trying to be fine art. It’s not even trying to be an irreverent horror film. It’s got one purpose, and that is to show computer generated fish eating a bunch of unsuspecting swimmers.
Once this self-knowledge is out of the way, the movie can construct a plot that works. It throws together all the standard cliches of a horror film… the wayward teenager tempted by sex, the young kids in trouble, the local sheriff trying to keep everyone safe. You’re not meant to care for any of these people. You’re not meant to cry for the victims. You’re meant to watch the insane over-the-top violence and silliness and laugh rather than scream.
Plus, the film turns upon itself by dropping some great cameos, including Richard Dreyfuss at the beginning singing his song from “Jaws” and Christopher Lloyd playing a part he was born to play as the wacky scientist.
“Piranha” may not have been one of the best films of 2010, but it was one of the most entertaining.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There’s plenty to complain about with “Piranha,” whether it be the gratuitous sex and violence, the cardboard characters, the rote plot or the overall stupidity of the story. But those all play into the fun of the film.
The only problems I had were when the special effects fell apart to CGI artifacting (which was all-too-often, from beginning to end). That’s really not necessary, for a serious film or a piece of modern schlock.
The DVD comes with Aja’s commentary on the film and a long-form behind-the-scenes documentary in five parts.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Horror fans looking for a bloody good time.