‘Piranha 3-D’ Shooting To Become The Ultimate ‘Jaws’ For This Generation

Frolicking teenagers, campy comedy, swarms of blood-thirsty fish: what’s not to love? 1978’s “Piranha” is a gem of a B-movie genre flick, and count horror buff Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes”) among its many admirers.

In fact, he’s set to begin filming a big budget remake on Monday. This time they’ll have, of course, a vastly bigger budget. And an admirable cast of actors. And it’ll be in 3-D. What’s not to love?

“We realized that with the advent of 3-D that we thought we could make the ultimate ‘Jaws’ for this generation,” producer Mark Canton (“300″) told MTV News.

And they’ll be doing it with the star of that seminal, terrifying thriller about a vicious great white shark, Richard Dreyfuss. “I think [the role] appealed to him—the whole idea and irony—that the shark couldn’t get him but the piranha will,” said Canton.

The remake is set in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere that becomes overrun during Spring Break, when tens of thousands of students arrive to drink, swim, hook up, and drink some more. Getting in the way of these brain cell-destroying plans, however, is a volcanic eruption that unleashes a swarm of unstoppable, flesh-eating, prehistoric piranhas.

“It’s a multi-invasion,” explained Canton. “You have the invasion of youth expecting to have that wild Spring Break and then you have the invasion of this prehistoric, rather unpleasant species.”

Joining Dreyfuss in the horror/disaster hybrid will be Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, and Jessica Szohr of “Gossip Girl” fame.

The fish will not be animatronic creatures, but rather CGI creations, and the filmmakers are bringing in the very best visual effects talent to make the piranhas as real—and scary—as possible. Canton, who produced the awesome spectacle of “300,” emphasizes that the movie will be “transcendent in terms of technology.” As previously speculated, the entire movie will not be in 3-D, but, Canton told us, “the big 3-D moments are going to be plentiful.”

The ultimate goal, Canton said, is to show that “a thrilling scary movie can also be a date movie—there’s something in there for everyone.”

He quickly added, “It’s not your grandma’s piranha!”

And then: “But you can bring grandma!”

Do you think “Piranha 3-D” has what it takes to become the next “Jaws”? What do you think of other 3-D horror flicks like “My Bloody Valentine”?