Alexandre Aja is fast becoming the director to go to should anyone in Hollywood decide to remake a horror film from the past. He's done The Hills Have Eyes, followed by Mirrors, and then now bringing to fruition a Piranha film in 3D no less, since the only unique selling point possible in having this, or projects of such nature green lit, is if the studios buy in to the 3D hype.
You know the drill, where a solid story actually takes a backseat just so that enough gets created to bring on the killer fishes in B-movie fashion, where violence and gore are of the order, and gratuitous amounts of tits and asses (how else can you explain the wet T-shirt contest with a playful Eli Roth, or an underwater naked lesbian ballet?) are staple at every opportunity, what with a Wild Wild Girls video production cast and crew written into the story. The excuse given here in the small lakeside town of Lake Victoria is a seismic incident that causes a rift to be opened up, and who knows that buried beneath a cavern for some 2000 years lie some thousands of pre-historic piranhas which have grown meaner through cannibalism.
Slap together an ensemble of caricatures, plus hundreds of partying, beach bumming, summer holidaying teenagers and you have a movie in the spirit of Snakes on a Plane as they get decimated by piranhas one and a time until the entire floodgates in the last act. Aja learns from how Jaws, and other sea-faring monster films build up suspense with plenty of moving legs underwater and the first-fish perspective, enhanced by CG which for the most parts have the piranhas look convincing as mean beasts you wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole - they're really ugly critters that you'd just want them destroyed even if it meant upsetting the eco-system. Hunting in packs also upped the danger quotient, as they're small, fast and extremely agile to be taken out by precision weapons.
3D effect wise, there were enough opportunities designed to exploit the 3D effect presentation, and this may make for a nauseating outing given the attention to detail when the filmmakers have to creatively come out with hundreds of death-by-piranha scenes, where body parts get nibbled at and chewed off, or through the soaking in blood stained waters meant they peel off. Fans of gore will have a field day in this as I can't recall any other mainstream film that featured a variety of limb designed, fully or half eaten, ever assembled for the screen, and death through some of the cruelest of methods as well, one which stood out to highlight the selfishness stemming from the instinct to survive.
Part of the fun the ensemble veteran cast assembled for the film, such as Richard Dreyfuss to bring forth the very first action scene involving a whirlpool, Elizabeth Shue starring as the town's Sheriff, Ving Rhames as her trusty, beefy deputy, Christopher Llyod as what else, an eccentric scientist, Dina Meyer and even director Eli Roth lending a cameo here. But don't expect anything cerebral to be coming out of this. It's a wickedly fun romp that loads up on the gore factor if anything, and largely forgettable once you laugh at how certain scenes were incredibly far-fetched.