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.
(Spielberg's staple generated tension through what it didn't show the audience.)
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
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