A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
How is teen drinking portrayed in the movie? What would the real-life consequences be for this kind of behavior?
- In theaters: August 20, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: January 11, 2011
- Cast: Adam Scott, Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames
- Director: Alexandre Aja
- Studio: Dimension
- Genre: Horror
- 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
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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