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 3DD is a sequel to 2010's surprisingly successful (and entertaining, in a very over-the-top way) Piranha 3D, which was itself a remake of a 1978 movie. While this one unfortunately lacks whatever made the previous movie work, it's just as packed with strong violence, including lots of blood, severed limbs, and even a severed penis. It also features heavy nudity, sexual innuendo, and some sex. Language is also very strong, with many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as beer drinking and pot smoking. Older teens may be drawn to the movie for the promise of nudity implied in the title -- and it's available on demand. Parents, beware.
What's the story?
The attacks of Piranha 3D left an entire vacation resort in ruins, and a news commentator asks, "can it happen again?" It can and does in PIRANHA 3DD at an Arizona water park. Marine biology student Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) returns home for the summer to find that her stepfather (David Koechner) has turned the family water park into a sex attraction, advertising busty lifeguards and an "adult pool" full of naked women. Unfortunately, he's also tapped into an underground lake and released more of the hungry carnivorous fish. With a tall, handsome, crooked cop (Chris Zylka) and a short nerd (Matt Bush) vying for her affections every step of the way, can Maddy save the day?
Is it any good?
While the previous Piranha movie had just the right blend of silliness, exploitation, and fun, Piranha 3DD seems totally lost. It comes across as forced, ugly, offensive, and lazy. The theme park idea could have been enjoyably ridiculous, but director John Gulager treats it with the same callousness as Koechner's character does. Likewise, the piranha attacks are lazy and dumb, using "close calls" to generate artificial suspense. And the movie stoops so low as to show a piranha killing a young boy.
Where the movie succeeds is in its choice of actors. Bush makes an unusual romantic hero, and Panabaker is an appealing and somewhat intelligent heroine. Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd, both veterans of the previous film, turn up in small parts, and David Hasselhoff is funny in a self-mocking role. Gary Busey and the director's father, Clu Gulager, appear in the prologue, which -- in a forecast of things to come -- uses cow farts as a plot device.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Piranha 3DD's violence. Is it intended to be entertaining or disturbing? Can it be both at once? Is that OK?
Is the movie scary? What's the difference between scary and bloody?
Many of the characters have perfect body types, except one young man who's teased for being too short. Can he still be a hero? What do the heroes of movies and TV shows typically look like? Why do you think that is?
- In theaters: June 1, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: September 4, 2012
- Cast: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Matt Bush
- Director: John Gulager
- Studio: Dimension
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use
For kids who love scares
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.