Supposedly a reboot of Joe Dante's 1978 original (which, curiously, was co-written by John Sayles), Alexandre Aja's 3-D-enhanced version is an unabashedly bloody excursion into B-movie mayhem that features a cast of familiar faces (Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd and Jerry O'Connell, as well as cameos by Eli Roth and Richard Dreyfuss).
The 3-D effects are occasionally inspired (though the piranha-eyed view grows tiresome), the story is stupid but sufficiently plausible and the cast is surprisingly game (especially a delirious O'Connell in a sleezeball role), but Aja's over-the-top presentation of the piranhas' human carnage makes Jaws look like a trip to the kiddie pool.
But that's not to say Piranha doesn't have its trashy pleasures, which comes as something of a relief amid a summer season rife with safe, PG-13-driven fare. Word is that a sequel is already in the works. Grade: C-plus
Opens Aug. 20. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.