HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lost in Vagueness
Sleeping Beauty
Allure
In Search of Dracula
Fantastic Woman, A
Emmanuelle II
Far from Vietnam
Inherit the Wind
Post, The
King Frat
Commuter, The
Mister Buddwing
Kiki's Delivery Service
Z-O-M-B-I-E-S
Mansfield 66/67
Old Enough
Bleeding Steel
Double Hour, The
My Generation
Geostorm
Pendulum
Certain Magical Index: The Movie - The Miracle of Endymion, A
That Good Night
Psychopath, The
My Beloved Bodyguard
.44 Specialist, The
Square, The
Boys, The
Slightly Dangerous
Titan Find, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
   
 
  Piranha Tales From The River BankBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, Keenan Wynn, Paul Bartel, Melody Thomas
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Maggie (Heather Menzies) is a private detective investigating the disappearance of two teenagers who went out hiking but never returned. With the help of a borderline alcoholic (Bradford Dillman) who lives out by the river, she discovers a top secret military base containing a large pool - a pool which holds deadly, genetically-enhanced piranha fish which are just waiting to be unleashed...

John Sayles scripted this aquatic horror, a blatant, cheerful rip off of Jaws. When Roger Corman set up his New World production company, not only were several successful movie careers set in motion, but several entertaining, low budget films were made as well - all far better than Corman's straight-to-video films of the eighties and after, where he seemed to lose his touch.

As with Jaws, authority figures are not to be trusted in Piranha. It is the scientists, the military and the politicians who have created this fishy problem, a project that was supposed to be introduced to the rivers of Vietnam to help in the now-finished Vietnam War. The scientists refuse to take responsibility for the little killers, and the military are determined to cover up the danger at the cost of innocent lives. The developers of the new river resort and the head of the summer camp are just as unreliable.

Of course, for all this to work you have to get people into the water in the first place, so Sayles has the characters get wet in pretty contrived ways, whether dangling their feet in the water, going rafting despite knowing the danger, or simply messing about on the river. Their behaviour can be excused by the spoofy tone of the film, but the attack sequences are played straight, and it's not just the baddies who get devoured.

The most incompetent character has to be Maggie, who is not only one of the most tactless investigators in the history of the movies, she also leaves her keys in her jeep thereby allowing it to get stolen, and, most importantly, lets all the piranha out into the river. Fortunately, she later redeems herself with her guard-distracting powers ("Are you gay?") and her jailbreak abilities.

There's witty dialogue and many little in-jokes such as Maggie playing a Jaws computer game at the start, or a bather reading Moby Dick at the end, but also plenty of nastiness to go around, and a not entirely happy ending, made even less happy by the poor quality of the supposedly James Cameron-directed sequel. Still, there are nice performances and enough action in the original to keep you amused. Listen for: Barbara Steele's strange way of pronouncing "piranha", and music by Pino Donaggio.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7174 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Joe Dante  (1946 - )

American director of science fiction and horror, a former critic who got his big break from Roger Corman directing Hollywood Boulevard. Piranha was next, and he had big hits with The Howling and Gremlins. But his less successful films can be as interesting: Explorers didn't do as well as he had hoped, but illustrated the love of pop culture that is apparent in all his work.

Other films include flop sequel turned cult favourite Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Innerspace, the underrated The 'burbs, Matinee (a more obvious tribute to the movies of his youth), Small Soldiers, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Hole and Burying the Ex.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
   

 

Last Updated: