When an earthquake tears open the bottom of Lake Havasu, schools of carnivorous piranhas are released from their underwater lair.
This is one of the greatest movies of all time. I am not trying to be funny, or ironic, or hipstery, like when I proclaim that string cheese is the best (actually, I’m not trying to be ironic then, either). It’s really one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. And that’s because Piranha knows exactly what it’s supposed to be and doesn’t try to do anything different.
So! Here’s what happens! A big Spring Break lake hangout is struck by an earthquake, which opens up a mesolithic cavern that’s full of, you guessed it, piranhas! Adorable, flesh-eating, blood-thirsty, VERY HUNGRY piranhas. So while thousands of college kids are out showing off their boobies and getting drunk from taking, I PRESUME, shlumps (that’s a shot that you take while jumping off the top of a boat or a several-story high river deck. Unless you have no coordination, like me, in which case you’ll just end up throwing the shot at your face and temporarily blinding yourself because tequila stings when it gets in your eye.), townspeople and tourists alike are being devoured by the hungry little fishies.
Can our intrepid heroes stop the invasion and save the tourists in time? NO. No they cannot. Pretty much everyone dies! VERY VIOLENTLY. It’s AWESOME.
Um, who ISN’T familiar in this movie? Ra-ra-ra-ROLL CALL:
Elisabeth Shue as Sheriff Julie Forester
Oh, hey, it’s Elizabeth Shue, who we know from many things, but most notably, I think, from one of the greatest movies ever, Adventures in Babysitting. She’s the badass, take no prisoners, sheriff of this small, humble, vacation town. In fact, the only really depressing thing about this film is that she is apparently old enough to play the mom of three kids. One of her kids?
Steven R. McQueen as Jake Forester
OH HEY JEREMY GILBERT, HOW’S IT GOING?
Jessica Szohr as Kelly
Awful, awful Jessica Szohr from Gossip Girl is Jeremy Gilbert’s love interest and is almost as much of a wet blanket in this as she is in Gossip Girl.
Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon
Ving Rhames plays the lead deputy. He’s way too old for this shit. And no one respects his authority. But that’s okay, cause they’ll just get eaten. There’s a moment with him and a shotgun and an outward motor which is just beautiful.
Adam Scott as Novak
Adam Scott!! Is an archeologist/diver sent down to investigate the earthquake. He’s so adorably Adam Scott-y! He spends the whole movie in a checked button down shirt! But with SCRUFF! ON A JET SKI.
Christopher Lloyd as Carl Goodman
Great Scott! It’s Christopher Lloyd! Playing, essentially, a slightly less befrazzled Doc Brown, who happens to be a local expert on prehistoric carnivorous fish.
Jerry O’Connell as Derrick Jones
And, last but CERTAINLY not least, Jerry McConnell plays, essentially, Joe Francis, the Girls Gone Wild CEO, and is a masterwork of oily, skeezy doucheyness.
(Also Richard Dreyfuss is in this movie for like 30 seconds before he ceremoniously gets eaten).
Couch Sharing Possibility: It’s a Mixed Bag
This kind of depends on your friend group, I think. My friends and I saw this in the theatres, in 3D, on, like, opening weekend, and I’m pretty sure we all unanimously agreed it was the most refreshing film we’d seen in ages. (The boobs bounce much more frenetically in three dimensions.) If you have friends who enjoy a good gorefest and love to be grossed out, then definitely gather them together, offer them no food of substance in case their gag reflex is not as cast-iron as yours or mine, and enjoy the thrills, spills, and underwater naked ballet. I would not watch this film with the following people: parents; members of your Bible study class; in-laws; any person you’ve been dating for a short enough time that you still shave your legs each and every time before you think you guys will have sex; really nice friends of yours who you are trying to “loosen up;” children under the age of 17; your children, no matter their age.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low
I know! Shocker, right? I guess it depends on that cast iron stomach of yours. If it’s truly cast-iron, drink away! DO NOT try to do something foolish, like “drink each time you see boobs” because that will seriously put you into some sort of advanced liver failure for which we cannot be held responsible. But this movie’s so fun, you really don’t need any alcohol! Because watching people be dismembered can be your alcohol!
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: High
I’ve been capital letters VERY UPSET with my Netflix queue lately, which, since I’ve been off work for a long time, has been getting a big work out, but I can say that movies like Piranha are what keep me from cancelling my subscription, even if the other day I totally threw my Wii remote on the floor and burst into tears at Netflix’s lack of Holiday Appropriate Offerings (i.e. Die Hard and Die Hard 2). While the film does lose a certain something in its transition from the big 3D screen to the intimacy of your living room (actually, let’s never use the words “intimacy” and “Piranha” in the same sentence again), it is nevertheless a GIANT ball of fun and sunshine, guaranteed to lift any dour Holiday moods out there.