This is a ‘‘reboot’’ of the Piranha franchise, which took advantage of the fear generated by Jaws and first terrorised a lake full of summer campers in 1978. It was followed by Piranha 2: The Spawning, which was directed by a certain James Cameron. Yes, the James Cameron. So, it’s been 28 years since we’ve seen the prehistoric, razor-toothed terrors and I for one, am glad they’re back. Piranha 3D opens with a nod to Jaws, in which Richard Dreyfus, as Matt Hooper singing a song from an attack scene in the cult shark film, is stuck in a boat and, after an underwater tremor that releases the toothy critters from their underground cave, becomes the first victim.
A fitting tribute indeed. From there we meet the heroine of the flick, Sheriff Julie Forester, played by Elisabeth Shue. Yes, the Elisabeth Shue, who is called out to the lake by her deputy (Ving Rhames) after Matt is reported missing. She wants to close the lake after pulling his savaged body from the water – after all, 20,000 students have just descended on her town for spring break celebrations – and she has no idea what killed Matt. But first she has to escort a team of divers, called to investigate what happened in the lake during the tremor.
Sure enough, they too become fish food. Sheriff Forester and dive-boat captain Novak (Adam Scott) manage to trap one of the hungry critters and take it to the brilliantly nutty Mr Goodman (Christopher Lloyd) for answers. It’s then they know exactly what they’re up against – a lake full of piranhas and spring breakers.