Free Great Movies Review
Piranha (1978) does for rivers what Jaws (1975) did for the ocean! Seriously though, Piranha is an often funny and undeniably entertaining rip-off of Jaws. Mr. Spielberg himself even said that he thought Joe Dante's Piranha was the best rip-off and his love of the movie prevented Universal Studios from suing producer Roger Corman over the film. After a giant infestation of flesh-eating, genetically-enhanced piranhas are released into a river, it's up to a backwoods drunkard and a skip tracer to try to prevent the piranhas from killing more people and getting released into the ocean. Our lead couple is played by Bradford Dillman (who has a Charlton Heston quality) and Heather Menzies. They run into a crazed doctor (played wonderfully by Kevin McCarthy) who created the piranhas as a Vietnam War defense project. Our two lead actors aren't too charismatic, but the real fun of the movie starts when the piranhas start attacking, first a nearby kid's summer camp and then an aqua amusement park. Joe Dante's wacky sense of humor and his talent for practical effects are instantly apparent in this film, which would be further perfected in his many popular films of the 80s and 90s. The movie is also helped by an excellent score from composer Pino Donaggio, who had just scored another horror classic in Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976). As far as low-budget Roger Corman-produced films go, Joe Dante's Piranha (1978) is one of the best.