PIRANHA (1978) 

Bradford Dillman
Heather Menzies
Kevin McCarthy
Keenan Wynn
Dick Miller
Barbara Steele
Belinda Balaski
Bruce Gordon
Melody Thomas Scott

Joe Dante


Time: 94 Minutes
Rating: R
Genre: Horror

As if I needed another reason to stay out of the water. This film isn't remotely as good as JAWS, but, on a certain level, it's twice as terrifying. The idea of being eating alive by hundreds of little fish seems a much worse way to die than getting chomped on by a giant solitary shark. People survive shark attacks, but the piranha leave no survivors just a pile of picked clean bones. Being a Roger Corman film, the effects aren't the greatest, however, all you need is creepy sound effects and a lot of blood and those puppets become creatures of shear terror.

Of course, these aren't your normal piranhas. Bred as a weapon by the government and long forgotten, they are accidentally released into a resort river by a private investigator looking for two lost teens. (They got naked and went swimming in a pool on government property, so they got what they deserved – in horror land. When it says "No Trespassing" perhaps you should listen.) Our hero (played competently by Dillman) finds himself in a race against time to reach the resort before the fish have the never-ending buffet meal of their lives.

It goes without saying that they take out a number of people along the way. Most of whom you won't care one bit about. The plot is basically a low-rent JAWS rip-off, missing the intelligence and great acting, though McCarthy makes the best of his tired role as the grizzled, angry loner convinced to help save the spoiled resort goers. However, it has more than it's fair share of suspenseful blood-letting and the dialogue is occasionally more clever and funny than one expects from a film of this caliber. Granted its not really a surprise when people are chewed to tiny bits, yet I found myself on the edge of my seat anyway, willing our heroes to succeed. If you like your horror obvious and campy than this is the film for you.




"People eat fish, Grogan. Fish don't eat people."

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