Piranha (film series)

D: Joe Dante
New World (Roger Corman, Jeff Schechtman & Jon Davison)
US 1978
92 mins
W: John Sayles
DP: Jamie Anderson
Ed: Joe Dante & Mark Goldblatt
Mus: Pino Donaggio
Bradford Dillman (Paul Grogan), Heather Menzies (Maggie McKeown), Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Robert Hoak), Bruce Gordon (Col. Waxman), Barbara Steele (Dr. Mengers), Keenan Wynn (Jack), Dick Miller (Buck Gardner)
A group of vicious piranhas cause havoc at a holiday resort, whilst an oceanographer and a scientist try to stop them.
Of all the late-1970's Jaws clones, Piranha has the biggest guilty-pleasure factor, but it's certainly not a great film. 
With the pairing of producer Roger Corman and director Joe Dante, it makes an enjoyable and fun B-movie homage, but the special effects are quite laughable, looking more as though someone chucked a vacuum cleaner into a swimming pool than a school of man-eating fish causing terror.


D: James Cameron
Columbia (Chako Van Leeuwew & Jeff Schechtman)
US/Italy/Netherlands 1982
94 mins


W: H. A. Milton
DP: Roberto D'Ettore Piazzoli
Ed: Roberto Silvi
Mus: Steve Powder

Tricia O'Neil (Anne Kimbrough), Steve Marachuk (Tyler Sherman), Lance Henriksen (Steve Kimbrough), Ricky G. Paull (Chris Kimbrough), Ted Richert (Raoul)

Not so much a sequel, but much more a cash-in on the spawn of aquatic horror films which emerged following the success of Jaws (qv).
A school of genetically-mutated piranha feast on their prey nearby a Caribbean resort whilst an scuba diving instructor, her biochemist boyfriend and her police chief ex-husband investigate.
Director James Cameron went on to bigger and better things later in his career, but as far as debuts go, this is one to expunge from the CV.

Piranha II: The Spawning
Piranha II: The Spawning

D: Alexandre Aja
The Weinstein Company/Dimension (Alexandre Aja, Mark Canton, Marc Toberoff & Gregory Levasseur)
US 2010
88 mins
W: Alexandre Aja, Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg & Gregory Levasseur
DP: John R. Leonetti
Ed: Baxter
Mus: Michael Wandmacher 
Elisabeth Shue (Julie Forester), Adam Scott (Novak Radzinsky), Jerry O'Connell (Derrick Jones), Ving Rhames (Deputy Fallon), Jessica Szohr (Kelly Driscoll), Steven R. McQueen (Jake Forester), Kelly Brook (Danni Arslow), Christopher Lloyd (Carl Goodman), Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Boyd)
A remake of 1978's low budget horror revived to cash-in on the revitalised 3D market. It's not an amazingly good film, but it isn't trying to be.
The original film was clearly a cash-in on the success of Jaws and, though it was reasonably entertaining, it was also very silly with some tacky special effects.
This version is every bit as silly, ticking off every horror cliché going as though it was filling out a bingo card, yet it still remains quite original with some of its special effects which range from laughably disgusting to bloodily gruesome. Its main asset is that it's just enjoyable, albeit brainless, fun, especially for teenage lads with the vast array of T & A on display.
Elisabeth Shue seems too talented an actress to appear in schlock like this, but she does a very good job in the lead, holding her own against more seasoned actors like Christopher Lloyd & Richard Dreyfuss, who spend most of their screen time hamming it up.
There's no denying that it's ridiculous, but fits right in the "so bad, it's good" market.

Piranha 3D
Piranha 3D

No body is safe
No body is safe


D: John Gulager
Dimension (Mark Canton, Marc Toberoff & Joel Soisson)
US 2012
83 mins
W: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan & Joel Soisson [based on characters created by Peter Goldfinger & Josh Stolberg]
DP: Alexandre Lehmann
Ed: Devin C. Lussier, Martin Bernfeld & Kirk Morri
Mus: Elia Cmiral

Danielle Panabaker (Maddy), Matt Bush (Barry), David Koechner (Chet), Chris Zylka (Kyle), Katrina Bowden (Shelby), Christopher Lloyd (Carl Goodman), Gary Busey (Clayton), David Hasselhoff (himself)

While 2010's Piranha 3D can be classed as "so bad, it's good", this sequel is just plain bad. Really bad.

The formula and plot are much the same, only the location is changed, taking place at a waterside amusement park.

As for the characters, they're all so boringly repugnant that it's almost impossible to care if any of them survive.

Over-the-top and tacky special effects would be expected but there's absolutely no comedy in this like in the previous film and its attempts at jokes are in the worst possible taste, whilst casting David Hasselhoff in a cameo role as his Baywatch character just smacks of scraping the dregs of the barrel.


David Hasselhoff in Piranha 3DD
David Hasselhoff in Piranha 3DD