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Vail: Piranha sickens for high production levels

By Joshua Vail
On August 31, 2010

I used to like creature movies.

Then I saw Piranha, and the genre was effectively ruined for me. The movie was disgusting from end to end.

Piranha is a remake in name only of a 1978 film of the same name. The original was a parody of Jaws, but this movie is a straight up gore-fest with nothing to laugh at from my perspective, though some scenes were clearly intended to be laughed at.

The casting and acting in the movie were not bad. I liked Christopher Lloyd's role as the scientist who knows or can figure out everything about the monster but is useless for any practical purpose.

As far as the people getting eaten, the production values were very high. As far as the computer-generated killer fish, they were clearly the only items on the CGI budget. Everything else that was computer generated was painfully obvious.

The plot is formulaic. Earthquake opens up underground lake. Fisherman gets eaten by things that come out of underground lake. It's spring break at Lake Victoria. The main character is the local sheriff's college-age son, who is unable to participate in the festivities due to having to watch his younger sister and brother.

He utterly fails to perform this simple task to her and instead goes with the adult filmmaker to help his crew scout locations. With this, the film has established its only two draws: sex and violence.

The Piranhas proceed to devour hundreds of teenagers and 20-somethings on spring break. The designated heroes survive and successfully save some of the teenagers and 20-somethings, but not until the viewer has been treated to as much sex and violence as can be squeezed into an R rating.

According to what I have read since seeing it, Piranha was supposed to receive an NC-17 rating, but was allowed an R after nine minutes of footage was cut. I'm not really sure what nine minutes was supposed to do, but all I know is that this was the most sickening movie I have ever seen.

Piranha is rated R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.

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