In the beginning, there was Jaws. It scared the shit out of millions of people. It became a cinematic sensation around the world. And it also opened the floodgates for countless rip-offs from every type of low-budget filmmaker under the sun (or, “under the sea,” as it were). After these “imitations with limitations” (as I like to call them) began to hit theaters, the King of B-Movies himself, Roger Corman, manufactured a tongue-in-cheek parody of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 hit. Entitled Piranha, Corman’s 1978 low-budget wonder was directed by the great Joe Dante and brought us the harrowingly-hilarious tale of killer fish (courtesy of the US Army, of course) that accidentally get released into the waters of a thriving summer resort, Lost River Lake.
To this day, many people still don’t understand that Piranha was not supposed to be taken seriously (my former eighth-grade teacher is one of those individuals, yet the man constantly thanks me for introducing Plan 9 From Outer Space to him every time I run into him — go figure). There were, however, a group of modern filmmakers who understood perfectly which manner they were to behold the movie, such as the men and women behind the second remake of the film (it was remade once before for Cable TV in ‘95), Piranha (2010) aka Piranha 3-D. And, from the very beginning of the remake, wherein we see an aged Richard Dreyfuss sitting in a small fishing boat singing “Show Me The Way To Go Home” and wearing an outfit not unlike the one Matt Hooper wore in Jaws, it’s obvious that the makers of the new Piranha understood the joke.
This time ‘round, though, the military is not at fault (surprising). No, with all of the eco-friendly plots that seemingly abound in the world of science fiction and horror flicks nowadays, the man-eating fishies that feast on the cast of this gory and unabashed moving picture are prehistoric critters that emerge when an earthquake bridges the gap between Lake Victoria (filmed at beautiful Lake Havasu) and the long-lost underground lake that lies beneath it. The fish are quick to assimilate into Lake Victoria, just in time for the hellish college Spring Break vacationers that are partying it up all across the water.
Taking the “hero helm” here are Steven R. McQueen (hmmm, where have we heard that name before?) as the unpopular son of the local sheriff (Elizabeth Shue, who has turned into quite a MILF, I must say) and Jessica Szohr (from TV‘s Gossip Girl) as his would-be girlie-friend. The two wind up on the rented yacht of an ultra-sleazy Girls Gone Wild-esque producer, Jerry O’Connell (who wins the “Best Performance From A Former Sliders Actor Ever” award) and his devilishly-devour able “actresses,” who are apparently descended from pearl divers (two words, kids: underwater lesbian sex!). Naturally, the T&A can’t last forever: and soon, our young heroes are battling tiny terrors from the deep.