Piranha 3D Movie Poster Image

Piranha 3D



Extreme gore, sex, teen drinking in fishy remake.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie is basically one long, unapologetic celebration of sex and gory violence. There's a minor message about how the teen partiers mess up the lake with their trash, but it's drowned in blood. There's some attempt at teamwork and problem-solving toward the end, but it's perfunctory and rushed.

Positive role models

Teen hero Jake eventually steps up to rescue his friend -- and finally gets to express how he really feels about her -- but before that, he lies to his mother and abandons his younger brother and sister in order to work on a boat with porn stars, booze, and a drug-snorting director. Both bad and good characters die, in the most horrific ways imaginable.


Tons of grisly gore, with the expected blood-in-the-water and bubbling as the piranhas go to work just below the surface. There's also a gruesome, post-carnage sequence of torn and shredded Spring Break bodies, tattered, hanging flesh, and gallons of blood. Bloody skeletons, and the fish munch on flesh, eyes, and one penis. A cowardly teen tries to escape in a motorboat and runs over several other teens in the process (a girl's hair is tangled in the motor). In one very squirm-inducing moment, a small girl steps on a broken bit of glass in the water. Two children are in peril during the course of the film.


Real-life porn star Riley Steele plays an actress shooting a sexy video. She's seen completely naked, swimming around underwater with another naked woman. One character's penis is ripped off by the fish; it's seen floating in the water. Dozens of girls in bikinis at the Spring Break festivities; some remove their tops (one girl parasails while topless), and there's also girl-on-girl kissing and a wet T-shirt contest. A teen looks at a porn website. Lots of additional sexual innuendo.


Very frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t." Other words used often include "son of a bitch," "goddamn," "piss," "ass," "boobs," "t-ts," "tatas," "chocha," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation) and "penis."


A Mountain Dew banner is seen during the wet T-shirt contest.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An old man drinks beer in the opening scene. Teens are seen drinking heavily during the Spring Break festivities. The "porn" director snorts cocaine and drinks champagne and tequila. He shares champagne and tequila with the teens on his boat; one teen girl drinks some and throws up afterward.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Piranha 3D is a graphically gory remake of the 1978 cult favorite. The new version is very, very heavy on gore, with a stomach-turning sequence of post-piranha carnage -- complete with skeletal remains; hanging, wobbling flesh; and gallons of blood. There's also plenty of sex on display, including a long sequence in which two fully naked women swim and kiss underwater, not to mention dozens of other teens wearing (and sometimes not wearing) skimpy bikinis. Teens drink openly, with very little consequence. Language is strong and constant, with many uses of both "f--k" and "s--t." The 3-D factor makes the effects and violent scenes even more intense and relentlessly bloody.

What's the story?

In a small town, an underwater tremor frees a school of prehistoric man-eating piranhas just as thousands of partying teens begin arriving for Spring Break on the lake. Sheriff Forester (Elisabeth Shue) heads out with a team of scientists (led by Adam Scott) to figure out what's going on. Meanwhile, her teenage son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen), is supposed to be watching his younger brother and sister. But instead, he's accepted a job working for a porn director (Jerry O'Connell). These characters and others find themselves stuck in the water as the vicious fish begin their relentless attacks. Can the sheriff find a way to stop the fish and save the town?

Is it any good?


Directed by Alexandre Aja PIRANHA 3D has just the right tone of playfulness, even though it's not specifically a parody or a commentary on horror films, as the original Piranha was. It's more reminiscent of fun, B movies like Anaconda and Lake Placid. It has a sunny, summery feel with clear, sharp cinematography, strong visual effects, and fine use of 3D. The cast is an above-average bunch, including Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss (a veteran of Jaws, of course) in a strong opening scene.

The movie does veer into some very mature territory, killing the mood with a particularly horrifying post-carnage scene in which wounded, half-devoured teens limp out of the water, bones and blood and hanging flesh on display. It further crosses the line when one cowardly teen tries to escape and runs over several people with his motorboat. And then there are the two small children who get caught up in the fray... But aside from these moments, Piranha 3D is generally out for a good, gruesome time, and it mostly delivers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence and gore. How did it affect you? Which parts were funny -- and which were squirm inducing? Why?

  • Was the movie scary? What makes the fish effective horror movie monsters?

  • How is teen drinking portrayed in the movie? What would the real-life consequences be for this kind of behavior?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 20, 2010
DVD/Streaming release date:January 11, 2011
Cast:Adam Scott, Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames
Director:Alexandre Aja
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycandyx. May 3, 2011
Teen, 15 years old Written byfilmbuffer December 12, 2010
This film is bathed in gore, sex, drugs, you name it. Graphic images of people being torn to shreds by piranhas, heavy sex, etc. Do not take your kids unless you think they can handle it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bygoodperson4 November 16, 2010
I was going to see it, but after i read this review, I changed my mind. I mean, this review talks about a penis floating in the water. Give me a break. Should be NC-17.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking