Original Vs. Remake: Piranha

We all celebrated Mommy with our last Original Vs. Remake and learned that many hadn't even known that the original Mother's Day had been remade. The more you know... Regardless, if you haven't seen Darren Lynn Bousman's remake, you really owe it to yourself to check it out because it's way better than the original.

For today's O vs. R, we are basking in the beauty that is the start of the summer season! And who doesn't equate summertime with cooling off with a dip in your favorite swimming hole. And how much would that suck if said "hole" was filled with blood-thirsty, mutated piranha! That's right, kids! Hold onto your bikini tops because it's time to dive into both the old and new versions of Piranha!

A simple and fun plot: a school of genetically mutated piranha are released from a pool at a science lab into a river that leads toward the ocean. As the frightening fish feast their way forward, it's up to an insurance investigator and her backwoods guide to put a stop to the carnage.
It's spring break at Lake Havasu and an earthquake has just cracked open a fault, releasing a large school of prehistoric piranha! As a cavalcade of partying punks and bikini babes overtake the waters, a literal bloodbath is about to begin! It's up to the local sheriff and some resourceful townies to somehow stop the slaughter!
Special Effects
It's a practical parade of blood-letting on hand here and it does a nice job of conveying how frightening these fish can be. We get a particularly nasty pair of feet skinned to the bone in addition to some unnerving undersea feeding of flesh. Even the underwater shots of the piranha themselves look quite realistic.
Holy shit, does the blood ever flow during this flick! Fully aware of its ridiculous premise, this remake absolutely delights in the destruction of numerous body parts! It's beautifully over-the-top and feverishly relentless in the amounts of grisly gore thrown at the screen. This flick even has the balls to eat Jerry O'Connell's peesh!
Even for a B-movie, the acting in Piranha is surprisingly great. Credit that to master monster movie director, Joe Dante. Stars, Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies-Urich are excellent as the team tracking down the piranha. Their chemistry really ups the emotional quotient of the flick. And the kids at the summer camp that gets terrorized are all fantastically believable.
Since this remake was more tongue in cheek, it didn't really require the work of great thespians, however we do get fine performances from Oscar nominee (and top-notch babysitter) Elizabeth Shue, as well as Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd and Adam Scott. Even Kelly Brook proves she's more than just a pretty face.
The original's biggest advantage is the fact that it's taking its scenario seriously. And there's a hell of a slow, ominous build as the piranha make their way through the river. We get a harsh example of how hard those little f*ckers attack by that old dude that gets his feet eaten to the bone. Finally, we come upon the summer camp full of innocent kids swimming in the lake. Holy shit, is that an intense set up for the finale.
Even with its comical edge, this remake definitely throws a fair amount of high tension (pun intended) at you. After seeing the amount of extreme carnage that these prehistoric piranha can wreak, any time someone is trapped on or in the water, your heart can't help but skip a couple of beats. However, it is more fun than intense seeing all the beautiful, party-loving dicks and bitches get their comeuppance.
Hot Chicks
Well, we do get a nice pair of late 70's boobs in the beginning by a skinny-dipping girl. And Heather Menzies-Urich as the main heroine is definitely easy on the eyes. The camp counselors are pretty close to the type of hotties we normally would get in a Friday the 13th flick, but nothing too crazy.
Oh, my dear Lord! Do I even have to writing anything?! I mean, we're talking Kelly Brook! Bikini! Boobs! Butt! Fully naked swimming!!! Not to mention the heaping helping of Spring Break skin on display throughout the flick! The movie is the absolute champion of this category forevermore, period!
Even with his early B-movie work, it was clear that Joe Dante was a master of fun thrills. His characters are all nicely developed, so you really get invested in the suspense. And the way he has the piranha attack really does send chills throughout your body. The man is just so damned skilled at making even the smallest of creatures come off as frightening. Now, that's talent.
Alexandre Aja is a master of the horror movie remake. He knows exactly what it takes to pay homage to something and then make it his own intense concoction. Every move he made with Piranha strikes the right chord from over the top gore/nudity to self-aware humor. And did I mention... he shot the whole f*cking thing in 3D, complete with fantastic, old-school three-dimensional gags?! Masterful!
Shit! I hate it when these things end up in a tie! But damn it, I have to call each category as I see 'em! Fortunately, I have YOU, the faithful AITH reader to put me in my place and tell me which Piranha truly deserves to be the catch of the day. So, you better post your opinions below! And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at [email protected].



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