So disappointed when she was taken down by the piranha - why do the good ones have to go down in a movie like this - I always asked.
Its bc they make the drama more interesting, and you care when they do go down,I found out later.
Its dated, but a decent tv movie-level story, and interesting situations, especially the summer camp.
I didn't really care for the 2010 remake - but I'd love to see this one again.
Here, the cast takes the piranha seriously, and the campiness is more of a percolating gallows humor. The 2010 version was rather drunken college kids that didn't really care, and Jerry O'Connor tries to be funny is only good for a one note chuckle, if even.
Just find this one, and get your horror movie thriller going.
4 ankle bites out of 5
Unless you count the titular foes as the leading characters then we could say that "Piranha" is headlined by Maggie McKeown (a likable Heather Menzies), an insurance investigator shipped to Lost River Lake to track down a pair of missing teenage hikers. Unsure of where to begin her search, Maggie calls for the help of Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman), a native of the area who knows the region almost by heart. Soon, the two discover a vacant military facility, home to a seemingly concluded government project that involved the breeding of human hungry piranhas for the Vietnam War. Only Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin McCarthy), head of the experiment, remains - but after Maggie and Paul unknowingly release the piranhas into the area's prolific bodies of water, a literal bloodbath quickly consumes the region.
With enough cheeky humor and manic gusto to fuel the sum of its parts, "Piranha" takes the most carefree elements of "Jaws" and subverts them, squeezing in a pinch of self-referentiality that turns horror into bodily based comedy. I suppose we shouldn't be laughing when the bumbling characters of "Piranha," for instance, jump into infested rivers knowing full well of its dangers in order to save a life (logic?), but lack of intelligence found in horror movies is a staple impossible not to guffaw at. And Joe Dante, later to be the director behind vintage cultural staples "The Howling" and "Gremlins," helms with a cheery attitude both ticklish and self-aware.
The low-budget is not something to take note of - because of the astuteness behind the camera, "Piranha" is as effective as any money-pumped Hollywood blockbuster. We don't have to have high tech shots of the piranhas, to have quirky special effects, to be provided with studio invincibility. The suspense is unforced, the humor natural; it's a great example of sweeping escapism overcoming its boundaries.
"Jaws" diehards might be ticked off by "Piranha"'s copycat audacity, but the unknowing shades of the audience might find themselves surprised by how adept the film is. We don't come in with high expectations, and yet we leave feeling as thrilled as we did during the greatest of schlock parties of the 1950s and '60s. Leave your eye-rolls, your inhibitions, at the door - this is a winner.
Supposedly they are mutant piranhas created by the military, but they seem exactly like normal piranhas so I think the military wasted a bit of cash to be honest.
Having seen the 2010 version of Piranha (and the 2012 sequel, which was even worse) I really didn't expect much from this, the 1978 original. Turns out it's not bad, and better than I expected.
Starts very well - setting the scene, developing the plot and characters. There is a genuine feeling of intrigue and engagement. You keep thinking "How are they going to stop this?".
From a point, however, it does degenerate into a B-grade creature feature, with action, body count and gore being the main drivers. It also feels like a bad ripoff of Jaws.
However, for the most part it is reasonably enjoyable and worth the watch.
The film has had numerous sequels and 3D incarnations over the years.
It was made in 1978 and it has aged in parts from print quality to fashions and appalling special effects compared to CGI.
The film is a Jaws rip off in several scenes.
From the Jaws arcade game.
An arrogant water park owner wearing a white suit who is the spitting image of the Amity mayor in Jaws.
A watchable 90 or so minutes but far from classic! The acting is very 1970s Australian soap opera territory.