Piranha 3D is a 2010 3D American comedy horror film, and the second remake of the 1978 film of the same name. As well as being comedic in many aspects, the film also contains many elements of splatter. It is directed by Alexandre Aja and sports an ensemble cast featuring Jerry O'Connell, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Kelly Brook, Ving Rhames and Eli Roth. The script was written by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, writers of the 2009 horror remake Sorority Row.
A sequel to this film, Piranha 3DD, came out on June 1, 2012.
- This summer 3D shows its teeth
- Sea, sex, and blood [French poster]
- There's something in the water
- Don't scream...just swim!
- This summer, how fast can you swim?
- Two million years of evolution. One perfect killer.
Fisherman named Matthew Boyd (Richard Dreyfuss) is fishing in Lake Victoria, Arizona when a small earthquake hits, splitting the lake floor and causing a whirlpool. Boyd falls in and is ripped apart by a school of piranhas that emerge from the chasm and ascend the vortex.
Jake (Steven R. McQueen) is admiring attractive tourists as spring break begins. He reunites with his old crush named Kelly (Jessica Szohr) and meets Derrick Jones (Jerry O'Connell) an eccentric pornographer, as well as Danni (Kelly Brook), one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the beach for filming a pornographic movie.
That night, Jake's mother, Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue), searches for the missing Matthew Boyd with Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames). They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing the beach down, made difficult by 20,000 partying college students. The next morning, a lone cliff diver is attacked and consumed by the marauding fish.
Jake bribes his two siblings, Laura (Brooklynn Proulx) and Zane (Sage Ryan), to stay home alone so that he can show Derrick around the beach. After Jake leaves, Zane drafts Laura to go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake. Meanwhile, Jake goes to meet with Derrick and runs into Kelly, who invites herself onto Derrick’s boat, The Barracuda. Jake meets Crystal (Riley Steele), another of Derrick’s actresses, and cameraman Andrew (Paul Scheer).
Julie takes a team of seismologist divers — Novak (Adam Scott), Sam (Ricardo Chavira), and Paula (Dina Meyer) — to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried prehistoric lake. Paula and Sam scuba dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large piranha egg stocks. Both are killed by the piranhas before they can alert the others to the discovery. Novak and Julie find Paula's corpse and pull it onto the boat, capturing a lone piranha. They take the fish to Carl Goodman (Christopher Lloyd), a marine biologist who works as a pet store owner. He explains that the piranha that they caught is a prehistoric species, long believed to be extinct, which must have been trapped underground for over two million years where they have grown super-aggressive.
Julie, Novak, Fallon, and Deputy Taylor Roberts (Jason Spisak) try to evacuate the beach, but their warnings are ignored until the piranhas attack a Sorority Girl (Bonnie Morgan) and then begin to attack the other spring breakers. Novak boards a jet-ski with a shotgun to help while Fallon drags people to shore and Julie and Taylor try to get swimmers into the police boat. The floating stage capsizes from the weight of all the panicking guests and one of its cables slices the Cheerleader (Ashley Rogers) and her friend in half like a cakes, while the wet T-shirt contest host (Eli Roth) is hit by a boat. Todd attempts to escape on a boat, but ends up getting a girls hair caught in his propeller. His boat stops and he cranks it back up, ripping the girl's scalp off. The panicking spring breakers then turn his boat over, trying to escape and he is devoured.
Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island, and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the rooms below deck. Kelly is trapped in the kitchen while Derrick, Crystal, and Drew are thrown from the boat. Crystal and Drew are killed while Danni manages to get a partially eaten Derrick back on board.
Jake calls his mother for help. Julie and Novak commandeer a boat and take it to the sinking Barracuda, while Fallon stays behind to fight off the piranhas.
Julie and Novak reach Jake and attach a rope to his boat. Julie, Danni, Laura, and Zane start crossing the rope, but the piranhas latch onto Danni's hair and ultimately devour her. The others make it to safety, but the rope comes loose. Using Derrick's corpse as a distraction, Jake ties the line to himself and goes to save Kelly. He ties Kelly to him and lights a flare after releasing the gas in a pair of stored propane tanks. Novak starts the boat and speeds away just as the piranhas surround Kelly and Jake. They are dragged to safety and the propane tanks explode, destroying the boat and killing most of the piranhas.
Mr. Goodman calls Julie on the radio, and Julie tells him that they seem to have killed all of the piranhas. Terrified, Goodman tells her that the reproductive glands on the piranha they obtained were not mature, which means that the fish they were fighting were not adults. As Novak wonders aloud where the parents are, a huge piranha leaps out of the water and attacks him.
- Matthew Boyd
- Novak Radzinsky
- Crystal Shepard
- Derrick Jones
- Wet T-shirt host
- Cliff driver
- Danni Arslow
- Sorority Girl
- Beach people
- Todd Dupree
- Parasailing girl
- Propeller girl
- Elisabeth Shue as Julie Forester
- Adam Scott as Novak
- Jessica Szohr as Kelly Driscoll
- Steven R. McQueen as Jake Forester
- Jerry O'Connell as Derrick Jones
- Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon
- Dina Meyer as Paula
- Christopher Lloyd as Carl Goodman
- Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Boyd
- Ricardo Chavira as Sam
- Kelly Brook as Danni
- Paul Scheer as Andrew
- Cody Longo as Todd Dupree
- Sage Ryan as Zane Forester
- Brooklynn Proulx as Laura Forester
- Riley Steele as Crystal
- Devra Korwin as Mrs. Goodman
- Eli Roth as Wet T-Shirt Host
- Ashlynn Brooke as Cheerleader
- Bonnie Morgan as Sorority Girl
- Genevieve Alexandra as Propeller Girl
- Maarsen Roney as Drunk Laughing Jock
- Franck Khalfoun as Deputy Green
- Jason Spisak as Deputy Taylor
Chuck Russell was originally scheduled to direct the film, and made uncredited rewrites to the script by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, as well as incorporating the original John Sayles script that Joe Dante directed the first time around. Alexandre Aja was selected to direct the film instead.
Production on the film was scheduled to begin late 2008, but was delayed until March 2009. In October 2008, Aja stated filming would begin in the spring. He further stated "it's such a difficult movie, not only because of the technicality of it and the CGI fish, but also because it all happens in a lake. We were supposed to start shooting now, but the longer to leave it the colder the water gets. The movie takes place during Spring Break and, of course, the studio wanted it ready for the summer, but if you've got 1,000 people who need to get murdered in the water, you have to wait for the right temperature for the water, for the weather, for everything."
Shooting took place in June 2009 at Bridgewater Channel in Lake Havasu, located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Much of one end of the channel was blocked off for boats, some flipped over and some covered in blood. The water was also dyed red for the shooting.
Citing constraints with 3D camera rigs, Aja shot Piranha in 2D and converted to 3D in post production using the reali-D conversion process developed by the company, Inner-D. Unlike some other 3D converted films released in 2010, Piranha's conversion was not done as an afterthought, and it represents one of the first post-conversion processes to be well received by critics.
Piranha 3-D's theatrical release date had been set for April 16, 2010, but was delayed. The film was planned to premiere on August 27, 2010, but in June 2010 was moved to August 20, 2010. The film's first trailer debuted with Avatar. A second trailer was shown in prints of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Inception. It was set to have a panel on 24 July 2010 as part of the San Diego Comic-Con International but was cancelled after convention organizers decided the footage that was planned to be shown was not appropriate. Nine minutes of footage, with some unfinished effects, were leaked onto websites. The clip used in promotional TV ads and the trailer that shows Kelly Brook's character, Danni, face to face with a pack of piranhas was not used in the movie, and was used for promotion only.
The official poster was released June 22, 2010.
The film was released on the DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D (Compatible with 3D TVs) formats on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. The "3D" part of the title was taken off both the 2D and 3D releases to prevent confusion of the two formats. The film was released in Australia on Thursday, December 30, 2010.
In its opening weekend, Piranha 3D grossed $10,106,872 in its first 3 days. In the United Kingdom, Piranha 3D opened at #4 at the box office, earning £1,487,119. As of May 16, 2011, Piranha 3D has made a total of $83,188,165 worldwide.
The film has a 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 112 reviews, with a "certified fresh" score of 6.2 out of 10. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received a mixed average score of 53%, based on 20 reviews. A tongue-in-cheek scholarly review of the movie was written for the journal Copeia (Chakrabarty & Fink 2011), which reviewed the movie as if it were a documentary film.
Empire gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Remember the film you hoped Snakes on a Plane would be – this is it! By any sane cinematic standards, meretricious trash ... but thrown at you with such good-humoured glee that it's hard to resist. It's a bumper-sticker of a movie: honk if you love tits and gore! Honk honk honk." Christy Lemire, film critic for the Associated Press, said "Run, don't walk: 'Piranha 3D' is hilariously, cleverly gory. Mere words cannot describe how awesomely gnarly 'Piranha 3D' is, how hugely entertaining, and how urgently you must get yourself to the theatre to see it. Like, now." HollywoodLife.com called the film "a campy masterpiece of a movie", adding "If you have an ounce of fun in your body, you will love this movie about killer piranhas that overtake a town of hotties — in 3D!" Peter Hall of Cinematical.com said "The gore, the nudity, the language, the gags, the characters-- it's all always on the rise. Just when you think things could not possibly get more ridiculous, that the film has peaked, Aja and screenwriters Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg manage to ram another syringe of adrenaline into its heart." The Hollywood Reporter referred to the film as "a pitch-perfect, guilty-pleasure serving of late-summer schlock that handily nails the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the Roger Corman original" while stating "Jaws it ain't -- Aja exhibits little patience for such stuff as dramatic tension and tautly coiled suspense, and there are some undeniable choppy bits...but he never loses sight of the potential fun factor laid out in Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg's script." The Orlando Sentinel gave the film one and a half stars out of four, stating that "Piranha 3D goes for the jugular. And generally misses, but generally in an amusing way."