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DVD Review: Piranha
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DIRECTED BY: Alexandre Aja
WRITTEN BY: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
STARRING: Steve R. McQueen, Elisabeth Shue, Jessica Szohr, Jerry O’Connell, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Paul Scheer, Richard Dreyfuss
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: January 11, 2011

Back in 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws struck pure fear into the souls of moviegoers, creating a phobia of the ocean in many people who saw it. Obviously over the years we’ve learned through countless nature docs and Shark Week binges that sharks — dangerous as they might be — aren’t quite the man-eating monsters we all thought they were. Even so, the recipe behind Jaws is pretty failproof, and it makes sense for filmmakers to use the same basic foundation for other films.

Enter Piranha, a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name that uses just this very same formula. During Spring Break in the town of Lake Victoria, Arizona, an earthquake opens a giant crack in the bed of the lake, creating entrance to a whole new section that had been locked away for millions of years. Even worse, a breed of prehistoric piranhas have thrived in this underwater tomb all along, and when the earthquake gives them access to the surface once again, they come out in droves seeking blood.

There’s no reason to beat around any form of shrubbery with Piranha; the plain and simple fact is that this isn’t a movie that you dub “good” or “bad” after seeing it. It’s pretty obviously not the best movie ever made, but that’s the point. With this type of movie it’s all about the viewer’s tastes and opinion.

The movie is completely absurd and sometimes even downright silly, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. It’s got all the sex and violence and swearing one expects in a b-movie horror flick such as this, and those of you who are into that sort of party won’t regret watching it at all. Those of you who don’t like sex and violence other “icky” things should avoid this one like the plague.

Entertainment value aside, my personal favorite thing about Piranha had to be the special effects and makeup work that was done on the film. There’s a point where these little fishy bastards flat-out unleash on the many Spring Break attendees. Instead of using all CGI to paint a realistic picture of violence, director Alexandre Aja and his team delivered some of the most disgusting, nauseating, and downright brilliant prosthetic and makeup work I’ve seen. Fans of horror movie gore will be delighted with what they see, while everyone else may have to run to the bathroom.

Unfortunately I was unable to partake in the 3D portion of what was Piranha 3D during it’s theatrical run, so I can’t say how much more entertaining it would be to try that out. That said, the movie works perfectly fine on its own and doesn’t need that extra pop to get a few scares and a lot of laughs out of you.


There’s a lot of different types of special features on the basic DVD, but there is still plenty to make it worth it. Basically you’ll find a line-up of making-of features that look at the many different aspects of the movie — the location, the Spring Break event, and many more.

My personal favorite naturally takes a MUCH closer look at all the bloody and gory makeup and prosthetic work mentioned above. A very amusing feature that shows you just what goes into making a movie as downright disturbing as Piranha is!

I’d recommend just clicking the “Play All” option so they all play like one long making-of feature, but that of course is your choice.


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