Review: Piranha (2010)

Directed by Alexandre Aja
Starring Elisabeth Shue, Steven R. McQueen, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Kelly Brook, Jessica Szohr
Out on DVD and Blu-ray; Sky Premiere from July 29, 2011

It’s Spring Break at Lake Victoria, Arizona, and sexy students descend for a weekend of pure partying. Unfortunately there are some uninvited guests: thousands of flesh-chomping prehistoric piranhas…

This gleefully hedonistic remake can’t compete with Joe Dante’s 1978 cult classic in terms of wit, scares or three-dimensional characters. It does, however, feature a piranha scoffing a severed penis before burping it back up again.

As you’ve probably guessed, Piranha 2010 isn’t a classy affair, but as mid-budget trash-horrors go, it’s hard to beat. The film is stuffed to the gills with wobbling breasts, profanity and gloriously gory demises, giving sanitised PG-13 horror a deserved slap round the chops. In the film’s most infamous sequence, Kelly Brook and porno star Riley Steele cavort around naked underwater for what feels like an hour. Teenage boys will love it.

Though the characters aren’t as interesting as the unlikely heroes of the original Piranha, they’re more endearing than the cardboard cut-outs you usually find in the genre: both the good guys (Elisabeth Shue’s cop mom, her 17-year-old son who’s torn between babysitting duties and hanging out with porno actresses) and the slimebags (Jerry O’Connell’s sleazy porn producer, Eli Roth’s even sleazier wet T-shirt host) make for fun potential fish fodder.

Sadly, however, the ropey CGI isn’t much better than your average SyFy creature feature – even Richard Dreyfuss’s amusing cameo is made rather less effective by some dodgy whirlpool effects.

The Blu-ray and DVD includes both 2D and 3D versions, a commentary by Aja and the producers, and the usual ‘making of’ featurettes. Matt McAllister

VERDICT: Mid-budget exploitation shenanigans. It’s no classic, but Aja’s film is amusing, pacey and delivers in the nudity and gore stakes. 6/10

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