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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.