31 Days of Horror(1)


The Original

Piranha is hands-down the best cash-in on Jaws to ever exist.  A young Joe Dante made a movie that was creepy and campy in equal measure and the film really knew when to make you laugh or make you cringe.  It’s a tremendously wonderful cult film that should be enjoyed for ages to come.

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The Sequel

Piranha 2 builds on the first one.  Rather than a river, this film takes place on a tropical island resort.  The film spends a good thirty minutes setting up scores of b-plots and side-characters, as well as showing a great many breasts, before it gets to the point and shows us that the experimental piranhas from the first movie were just the tip of the iceberg.  This new species have attributes of a grunion, a type of fish that come onto land to mate, and flying fish.

The piranha attack the resort and it’s up to a marine biologist (Tricia O’Neill) and her sheriff ex-husband (Lance Henriksen) to stop them.  We’re  introduced to a major cast of characters who really won’t be important later and then flying fish feast on delectible neck meats.

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Does It Hold Up?

For about three-quarters of the movie it’s nearly poised to be better.  After seeing this movie I must say taht Alexander Aja stole much of the ideas from his 3D remake from this movie, rather than the first one.  The dialogue is insane and goofy, the characters are broad and silly, and it’s building up to something that never really comes.  The big problem is the piranha that look cheap and don’t get used often for that specific reason.  The entire last quarter of the movie is extremely disappointing.  I still think this movie works but it’s just important to note that it doesn’t build back up after the midpoint.  There’s still plenty of gore, nudity, and overexaggerated performances to please any cult fan.  It is worth noting

It is worth noting that James Cameron was fired as the director of this movie.  Producer Ovidio G Assonitis fired him the first week and directed the rest of the film but the contract stated that an American director had to be credited, so he was.  As if that’s not enough, Cameron later broke into the editing room and cut his own version of the movie but was caught and Assonitis replaced it again.

Piranha Part Two is no great achievement but there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.

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Watch, Toss, Or Buy?

Give it a watch.

Where Can I Find It?

No Blu-ray but it’s available on DVD and Amazon Instant.