When I was in college, one of the weekly syndicated columns in our campus newspaper was movie reviews by Joe Bob Briggs. Briggs yardstick for whether or not to recommend a film was based on several things–the amount of creative deaths and gore included in the film and the amount of naked female flesh displayed on screen.
Joe Bob Briggs would have loved the update of “Piranha.”
Set during spring break, the story (such as it is) finds an under-lake chasm opening up and releasing hundreds of hungry, aggressive piranha into a lake packed with sun worshipers. In just under 90 minutes, you’ll see more blood, gore and topless females than you can shake a stick at.
If you’re the least bit squeamish by creative new ways to kill off people, don’t even bother with this film.
If you’re looking for a total popcorn movie (though I’d recommend you finish eating by the 40-minute mark), “Piranha” is more fun than it has any right to be. Director Alexandre Aja mines a ton of suspense by putting characters into the water and giving us POV shows from the attacking fish. And while I assumed certain characters were safe simply because they were played by “big name” stars, Aja plays with that by unexpectedly killing off those you think are clearly meant to survive the carnage.
This movie isn’t great. It won’t win an Academy Award and it’s probably not one that you ever need to see more than once. But if you’re in the mood for an over-the-top, guilty-pleasure, popcorn horror film full of blood, boobs and hungry fish, you could probably do a lot worse.