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Serving Up Gore Galore: People-chomping fish prove intentionally hilarious in Piranha 3D's high camp fun 

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Piranha 3D is not necessarily a good movie but it's one of the best movies I've seen all year. The fact that it doesn't skimp on the blood, gore, carnage or splattering and bouncing bikini-clad, buxom women unafraid to take off their tops and swim naked might just give it three stars right there. Throw in the demonic flesh ripping, meat-chewing little sea devils and you have a CGI masterpiece of underwater hideousness.

Starting off with a cameo of Richard Dreyfuss looking like Hemmingway's Old Man in the Sea and parodying Jaws to the hilt, Piranha is a patent set up for '70s horror extravagance. It's spring break at Victoria Lake and an earthquake has released a mass of prehistoric piranhas from an underwater cave that are ready to wreak havoc on the drunken half-naked partiers. There's also a "Wild Wild Girls" video shoot taking place, which is where things get the most comically absurd. The bumping and grinding to bad disco music is hilarious, but nothing will prepare you for the beachfront piranha attack melee and ensuing blood-drenched slaughter of the party animals. I haven't laughed this hard in years.

The huge plot loopholes and ridiculous pedestrian dialogue can be forgiven as director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, Hills Have Eyes) nods to all things in '70s schlock horror, even including a homage to Lucio Fulci's Zombie and its splattery effects. The original Piranha, directed by Joe Dante and written by John Sayles, pulled off intended high camp with cheesy glory, but Piranha 3D is amped to the max and all the cheese has been left intact. Elizabeth Shue plants tongue firmly in cheek to play the stern sheriff/mom, Adam Scott is the weirdly subdued scientist, Christopher Lloyd psychotically mumbles through the fish authority/mad-scientist role, Eli Roth provides yet another stupid cameo and gruff-yet-fair Ving Rhames goes turbo, killing the demon fish with an outboard motorboat engine.

This movie is "drive-in" classic personified: grisly looking flesh hanging off limbs, swimming piranha eye lens, tequila body shots and even an underwater nude mermaid porn ballet. The Jaws-like paranoia never reaches the nail biting realm, but when these herds of fish start hauling ass, it's a blood spurting payday.

Piranha 3D


Starring Elizabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Rated R


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