No one owns his Splat Pack cred quite like Alexandre Aja. The French horror director works gore the way Michelangelo slung egg tempera. He excels at the Unpredictable Kill — in High Tension, it was that dresser-drawer decapitation; in The Hills Have Eyes, it was the American-flag throat impalement. But in his remake of 1978's Piranha, there are too many bravura snuffings to recount — this may well be his Sistine Chapel.
Equal parts creature feature and nerd-revenge fantasy, the updated Piranha revels in throwback tropes: it's Spring Break, and 20,000 hornball airheads are converging upon Lake Victoria, just as an earthquake unleashes a prehistoric piranha infestation.
Amid the carnage is a weirdly star-studded cast: Richard Dreyfuss as a hapless angler, Christopher Lloyd as an ichthyologist screaming about fish sex organs, Ving Rhames as the bad-ass deputy sheriff. But most inspired is Jerry O'Connell's vile turn as a coke-snorting, Speedo-wearing "Wild Wild Girls" honcho (I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that his is an epic 3-D death indeed).
Can we ask anything more of a popcorn horror flick? No, we cannot.