• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Piranha

TITLE: Piranha

YEAR: 2010

GENRE: Horror

There was a time in cinematic history where the independent film world was making films known as exploitation cinema. These films were mostly presented in older theaters in the seedier side of town and featured films that were especially gratuitous in sex, drugs, and violence. The 1960’s and 70’s were the heyday of the exploitation cinema world, and a surprising amount of these movies such as The Trip and I Spit On Your Grave are well remembered and loved by a loyal fan base. One of the films you may have seen in those more seedy theaters would have been Piranha, a 1978 parody of Jaws directed by a young Joe Dante (Gremlins, Explorers, Small Soldiers) and produced by the great Roger Corman. Director Aja Alexander remade Piranha in 2010 and ended up creating a great homage to those grindhouse, exploitation-type films of past days.

Piranha starts at Lake Victoria, an idyllic waterfront and quiet haven for its inhabitants. That is, with the exception of one week a year when thousands of college students swarm onto the pristine environment to drink, get naked, and wallow in debauchery. The local sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) and her main deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) try to keep order in the midst of chaos, including keeping an eye on self-serving pornographer Derrick Jones (well played by Jerry O’Connell) and a bevy of women willing to lose their clothes. The law’s problems are about to get worse as a small earthquake opens up crack between their water oasis and a prehistoric lake underground filled with bloodthirsty primitive piranha-style fish. The school of piranha escapes their two million year old prison and enters the lake where the college students frolic. Let the carnivorous fish smorgasbord begin!

Piranha is basically split into two parts as a film. The first part is mostly the sexploitation aspect of the film, which features about as many naked women as I have ever seen in any film. The underwater scene where two purely naked women (to the point where one can tell if the carpet matches the drapes if it was not shaved) is about as erotic of a lesbian-type scene in any non-XXX rated movie, and there are literally dozens of women losing their clothes for everybody to see. This part was alright but basically a bit too much, and yes there is such a thing as too much nudity. However, the second half is a complete bloodbath and is presented in a droll and creative fashion. Most of the kills are well done and are darkly comical, especially the scene where a wet T-shirt judge (played by gore moister Eli Roth) is decapitated in a gruesome yet side-splitting (pun intended) way. I don’t want to spoil the fun, but we all know sinners die in horror films and Derrick Jones meets an especially excruciating demise that is warped, poetic in nature, and cringe-worthy. The effects are pretty good, the CGI fish look menacing, and the production is fast-paced and entertaining. The scene where Fallon uses an outboard motor from a boat to shred a pack of the ancient fish is reminiscent of a legendary scene from another splatter classic, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive. Cameos by Christopher Lloyd as a paranoid ichthyologist and Richard Dreyfuss as the school of fish’s first victim (get the joke?) only adds to the fun.

Hollywood has not given us a film that so gratuitously throws out the blood and boobs in probably two decades, and this is a fine selling point for Piranha. This is what a real horror film is supposed to resemble and I found it to be an entertaining, bloody good time. This film was originally shot in 3-D and I wish I would have seen this in the theaters as a couple of the effects would have been especially effective. This film will not win any awards for screenplays or acting, but then again that does not matter when Piranha is the bloodbath that many horror fans hoped Hollywood would produce again someday. This is a nice salute to the grindhouse era of film making that does stand out on its own.

* * * *

–Mark

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