Piranha (1978)

Movie Title: Piranha

Year Released: 1978

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 34min

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director: Joe Dante

Writer: John Sayles

Starring: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Belinda Balaski, Melody Thomas Scott, Bruce Gordon, Barry Brown, Paul Bartel, Shannon Collins

Review: When genetically altered piranha fish are accidentally released into a river, which leads to a summer resort, everyone in the water is on the menu in the cult classic from "B" movie maven Roger Corman and director Joe Dante - It's Piranha!

Piranha is the best Jaws rip-off thanks to it being acleverly-crafted comedy and horror picture that, for lack of a better term, has bite. John Sayle's self-aware and highly political script is the guiding force for one the most entertaining, hilarious, and gruesome cult classics of the 1970s.

As Joe Dante's first solo directorial effort Piranha shows off his skill for making low budget films. Even with a limited budget Dante makes it appear that a plethora of resources are at the crew's disposal and with slick editing he makes the man-eating piranhas seems vicious, vile, and voracious.

The special effects by Chris Walas, Rob Bottin, and Phil Tippett are nothing short of bloody good fun as these razor teethed fish bite, chew, and chomp their way through scuba divers, waters skiers, and swimmers without leaving any leftovers.

The cast, which includes Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Barbara Steele, Belinda Balaski, Paul Bartel, and Dick Miller, brings a lot of cult classic charm and gives Piranha many memorable characters and quotable lines of dialogue like, "The piranhas...They're eating the guests, sir." Such a great line!

So if you're looking for a creature feature that delivers on the fear, laughs, and glorious gore that Roger Corman and company brings to the screen better than anybody then take a dip in Lost River Lake and prepare to get entertainingly eaten by... Piranha!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Universal Studios attempted to sue New World for spoofing Jaws (1975). However, Steven Spielberg saw the movie in advance and loved it. After that, Universal dropped the lawsuit.


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