A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Message is anti-establishment: The US military, politicians, and businessmen are in a corrupt alliance to create, then cover up, the nasty piranhas as potential eco-weapons.
Positive Role Models
Lead characters, a nervy girl investigator and a semi-hermit single dad, are a little less savory traditional goody-goody types, even though they perform heroically against the piranha-mongers. There are stereotypical evil-businessman types and evil-Army-officer types (and evil-businessman-Army-officer types).
Violence & Scariness
Gory violence is mainly blood and ill-focused body parts floating in water, though there are some grisly out-of-water scenes of corpses, bite-ridden torsos, mutilated faces, and exposed bones. There's a car wreck, and two characters beat each other up.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Toplessness, as the sexually-profligate heroine flashes her bare breasts to distract a guard. A girl and her boyfriend go skinny-dipping. Hint that the leads have had premarital sex. Comical wondering if a minor character is gay. Bikinis and swimsuits in the big piranha-attack finale.
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"Ass," the s-word, "hell," "balls," "dammit," "a-hole," "Jesus Christ."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Whiskey drinking by the good guys (a habit the good guy cultivated after his divorce) and much dialogue about alcoholic spirits and drinking problems. A drunken old man is killed by the piranhas. A sheriff smokes (near a "NO SMOKING" sign).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that gore and violence are this movie's primary reason to exist, with extensive (if chaotic) underwater shots of people bloodily devoured by small, sharp-toothed fish, sometimes right down to exposed skeletons and severed limbs. Child characters as well as grownups get chewed (though the lens mainly dwells on adult casualties). There is some profanity and a fair amount of drinking (hints that the hero is an alcoholic). There's also female nudity and skinny-dipping. Questionable behavior includes trespassing, bad driving, and stealing police property. US government, military, cops, mayors, and authority figures right up to camp counselors are portrayed as unsavory and untrustworthy. This is not to be confused with a deluxe Piranha 3D remake from 2010. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Part of the entertainment factor of Piranha is that it has no pretensions of being anything but brisk schlock-horror killfest, intended for drive-ins and grindhouses and nothing more. Word is that Steven Spielberg himself endorsed PIRANHA as the only one of the many, many Jaws rip-offs that had any redeeming value. Despite much bloodletting, the barely-shown-and-better-for-it piranhas aren't exceptionally scary or awe-inspiring, but one appreciates the clever economy in doing lots of vague little water monsters instead of one big, painfully fake one. Still, this one is way too gory for kids, so it is best appreciated by adult film buffs.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.