This time around, an underwater earthquake has unleashed a horde of ancient, vicious piranha on an Arizona lake just as spring breakers have come to town. While oblivious college kids continue to party, even as the blood flows, order is desperately sought by the single-mom sheriff (poor Elisabeth Shue, called upon to drag a lot of gnawed corpses).
Piranha 3D opens with a decent joke – a cameo from Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss, who is even humming a tune from that 1975 summer classic – but the laughs don’t last long. As in his other films, Aja eventually assumes the deranged, leering killer’s point of view, taking obvious pleasure in the pain being inflicted on various idiots and bimbos. His characters – especially the women, who suffer the most gruesome violence – are literally little more than fresh meat.
Aja has also made the definitive film for the 3-D craze circa 2010. Full of gimmicky visual tricks – the eyeball that floats by is one of the more tasteful examples – this is a more accurate depiction of where the technology stands. Piranha exploits sex and gore the same way studios exploit moviegoers with 3-D tickets.