Film: Piranha 3D

Piranha 3D is a remake (in name only, really) of the original Joe Dante B-movie, directed by Alexandre Aja.

Set at Lake Victoria, a minor earthquake opens up a chasm that connects the lake to a larger subterranean one. The local sheriff (Elizabeth Shue) escorts a trio of scientists to explore the underwater cave, while her chief deputy (Ving Rhames) is left to oversee the chaos of Spring Break. However, thousands of prehistoric piranha that have outlived their species' extinction by millions of years are now able to escape to the surface, eating two of the scientists, and then making their way towards the town's very active beach.

Also filling out the adult cast are Jerry O'Connell (a Girls Gone Wild-esque producer/director), Christopher Lloyd (a marine biologist), and Richard Dreyfuss (a local fisherman who is the first to get eaten). As incredible as it may seem, the film actually got mostly positive reviews, for being realistically scary, but also knowing when to indulge in it's B-Movie roots. Two years later, a sequel was released, Piranha 3DD.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Mom: The sheriff. She shows no hesitation to go help her kids when they're in danger.
  • Artistic License Physics: Mr. Goodman's explanation for how the piranhas could have lived in isolation under the lake for millions of years with no other food: cannibalism.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Actually spring break, but close enough.
  • Badass: Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon.
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • B-Movie
  • Black Comedy: The deaths are sometimes over-the-top hilarious, but still remain horrifying. The death of Novak at the end definitely fits this.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Ramps this up to ridiculous levels, and it's obviously intentional.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Some of the deaths, such as the Diagonal Cut scene and the girl who, while being carried to shore by two guys, turns out to be more injured than they thought, as the one holding her legs accidentally rips the bottom half of her torso off.
  • Cassandra Truth: The police warn the partygoers to get out of the water, but nobody listens until the blood starts spilling.
  • Celebrity Survivor: Porn stars and a sleazy Joe Francis clone are among the red shirts.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The propane tanks.
  • Conspicuous CGI: Joe Dante's advice to Alexandra Aja, the director of the 2010 version, was "even if you're doing the fish in CGI, use puppets". It's very easy to tell which piranha is CG and which fish is a physical prop.
  • Corpsing: When Derrick's half-eaten body is brought onto the boat, Laura's actress can be seen grinning instead of looking horrified.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Lots and lots of this, including non-piranha caused deaths: a girl gets sliced in half by a high tension wire and watches her bikini top fall off before the rest of her upper torso follows suit. Another girl's hair gets tangled in the propellers of a speedboat, ripping off her scalp and face. The host of a Wet T-shirt contest is decapitated. In more piranha-related news, a piranha eats a woman from the inside out, emerging from her mouth. Two piranhas fight over the severed penis of a pornographer...and didn't like it in the end.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kelly.
  • Dead Star Walking: Richard Dreyfuss.
  • Death by Sex: Promiscuous spring-breakers, a pornographer, and wet t-shirt contest host (played by Eli Roth) are on the receiving end of the piranhas' teeth.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Although the ending wasn't really candy and rainbows, it was revealed that the piranhas throughout the movie were actually babies, and an adult piranha eats one of the protagonists.
  • Distracted by the Sexy
  • Famous Last Words: Derrick saying to Jake "Wet t-shirt. Wet t-shirt." for no apparent reason.
  • Fanservice: First half of the film is filled with lots, particularly the underwater nude ballet between Kelly Brooke and Riley Steele.
  • Fan Disservice: Then cue the piranha attacks. Many very beautiful people (in bathing suits) are killed in ways that combine sex and gory violence. For example, the girl who gets sliced in half by a high-tension wire as mentioned earlier: first the bikini top falls off, exposing her breasts... then the rest of her upper torso follows suit. Also Jerry O'Connell's severed penis, which is even more horrific if you saw it in theaters in 3D.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The plot revolves around a Wild Wild Girls production/event, an obvious parody of Girls Gone Wild.
  • Flying Seafood Special
  • Gorn
  • Groin Attack: Jerry O'Connell gets his penis bitten off by the piranha.
  • Half the Woman She Used to Be: Happens to quite a few bikini babes. Two notable examples:
    • Two girls get sliced by a flying steel cable and...
    • A few scenes later, one seemingly uninjured girl being hauled ashore by a couple of cops literally falls apart in their arms.
  • Hazardous Water
  • Heroic Sacrifice: See Moment of Awesome.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Spring Break.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: A porn actress rather than a hooker, but Kelly Brook's character is otherwise this to a tee. She quickly becomes a sort of surrogate Cool Big Sis to the teenage hero, tries to get him to kiss the girl he has a crush on and is the only character to show grief when the Jerkass porn producer dies. Not that any of this stops her becoming fish food of course.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Than the previous versions, by far - lots of nudity, including the aforementioned nude ballet.
  • Improvised Weapon: Ving Rhames' character runs out of ammo, so he takes the motor off of a boat and uses it to chop piranhas up like a blender.
  • Infant Immortality: Curiously played straight, unlike the original.
  • Large Ham: Christopher Lloyd, of course. Jerry O'Connell also gets really into his role, to hilarious effect.
  • Ludicrous Gibs Not surprising, considering the fact that many characters are...
  • Made of Plasticine: Some of the results of the attacks look like this, particularly the girl who's accidentally pulled in half while being carried to shore.
  • Mood Whiplash: Goes from goofy 'teens on a porn set' scene, to standard horror movie stuff that could still pass for goofy/comedic, to a several-minute scene of unusually realistic gore.
    • Especially the aftermath of the lake massacre where the survivors are being pulled out of the river.
    • At one point in the aftermath, you see two girls on a boat holding each other and sobbing, while one of the boys on the boat passes a water bottle to another boat to help care for survivors. What used to be a bunch of douchebag rebellious teens getting massacred quickly turns into a bunch of terrified and traumatised kids trying to pick up the pieces of their foolishness. It's a very sobering switch.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jake's decision to help out with filming the porn video leads to both Kelly and his younger siblings trapped on a boat surrounded by piranhas. He makes up for it by rescuing Kelly and blowing up the boat along with hundreds of piranhas.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted. Jerry O'Connell said that his character was explicitly based on Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, and insisted on giving him the goriest death in the movie.
  • Nude Nature Dance: The underwater ballet scene.
  • Oh Crap!: They're the babies.
  • Piranha Problem
  • Refuge in Audacity: Good lord.
  • Smug Snake: Not really a villain, but audiences just love to hate Derrick Jones' manic douchiness.
  • Stealth Pun: When Jerry O'Connell's severed penis is sinking to the bottom of the lake, two piranhas start fighting over eating it. In other words, a cockfight.
  • Teens Are Monsters: One of the teens grabs a boat just for himself and tries to go for shore, running over several people in the process and killing a few of them.
  • Third Is 3D: The marketing title Piranha 3D is somewhat confusing, making it look like the film might be a second sequel rather than another reworking.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Almost everybody. But especially the spring breakers, who refuse to get out of the water when the cops and the sheriff herself tells them that it's an emergency. Words like that usually scream shark or alligator/crocodile if you're in or near deep water.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: An annoying example. That scene in the trailers where a giant piranha leaps out of the water, and snatches a character off the boat? That's the ending.
  • Underwater Kiss: It's an underwater nude ballet, as mentioned several times above.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In slow-motion, right at the camera. And it's Squick-inducing enough in 2D...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cameraman Andrew vanishes without trace three quarters of the way through the movie. It can be safely assumed he was eaten by piranha but it's weird we never see his fate considering all the other victims on the same boat get very graphic and obvious deaths.
    • Word of God says he was to fall off the boat and swim towards shore only to have his nose bitten off by a piranha. The scene apparently ended up being cut due to being a special effects headache and all that remains in the finished film is a *very* brief shot of Andrew falling overboard when the boat hits the rocks.
    • Seemingly the above was retconned as Andrew subsequently turns up alive and well (complete with intact nose) in Piranha 3DD. His disappearance (and survival) in the first film remain unexplained.
    • Not once did they explain (or even mention) what happened to Sheriff Julie Forester, Jake, Kelly, Zane, or Laura in the sequel. Although given how this movie ended...