Year: 1978

Director: Joe Dante

Written by: John Sayles

Threat: Fish

Weapon of Choice: Teeth

Based upon: Original

IMDb page: IMDb link


Other movies in this series:
Piranha II: The Spawning

Rish Outfield's reviews
Another childhood favourite, this big time Jaws ripoff was really good in spite of its badness.
At a secret government research site in the mountains, genetically-mutated piranha are accidentally released into a nearby river, where they wreak havoc on the locals. It's up to a grouchy recluse and a mouthy investigator to stop them before they eat everybody in America and reach the ocean to move on to the world!!
You know, this movie had no right to be any good. And don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect, but it was nice. Made on an extremely low-budget (even for Roger Corman), it holds up surprisingly well (especially for Roger Corman). You know, there was a lot that was surprising about this thing. The great Kevin McCarthy and Dick Miller both have cool parts. It was filled with clever, often-funny, surprisingly good dialogue. Including the classic line "We'll pollute the bastards to death!" Also surprising were the silly/cool Phil Tippett-created critters and gory Rob Bottin makeup. The piranha were some nasty little buggers that sometimes looked good, sometimes not-so-good, but in the end, a zillion little fish are less scary than one big fish. Campy moments abounded, but it only served to endear the film to me. The awful, silly shlock synthesizer music was used sparingly, thank goodness. My notes included the phrase "Boobily camp counselor," but I won't begin to try and expand on that. Lots of silly subplots, perhaps too many, were introduced. The summer camp angle was neat, as was the evil government coverup. There was a strange stop-motion monster that appeared in one scene, but never reappeared.
And you know, though the Jaws parallels weren't plentiful, I have to give it a skull, kids. Rules is rules. Okay, it had some bad acting in it, but since it was all in the first half, I had to let it go. I make the rules, kids, and when I make the rules, I get to break ‘em too.
I'd Recommend It To: Campy monster movie fans.

Total Skulls: 13

Sequel setup skull
Rips off earlier film skull Jaws
Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie skull The Monster That Challenged the World
Future celebrity appears
Former celebrity appears
Bad title
Bad premise
Bad acting
Bad dialogue
Bad execution
MTV Editing
OTS skull
Girl unnecessarily gets naked
Wanton sex
Death associated with sex
Unfulfilled promise of nudity
Characters forget about threat
Secluded location skull
Power is cut
Phone lines are cut
Someone investigates a strange noise
Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door
Camera is the killer skull
Victims cower in front of a window/door
Victim locks self in with killer
Victim running from killer inexplicably falls
Toilet stall scene
Shower/bath scene
Car stalls or won't start skull
Cat jumps out
Fake scare
Laughable scare
Stupid discovery of corpse
Dream sequence
No one believes only witness skullskull
Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth skull
Music detracts from scene
Death in first five minutes skull
x years before/later
Flashback sequence
Dark and stormy night
Killer doesn't stay dead
Killer wears a mask
Killer is in closet
Killer is in car with victim
Villain is more sympathetic than heroes
Unscary villain/monster
Blood fountain
Blood hits camera
Poor death effect skull
Excessive gore
No one dies at all
Virgin survives
Geek/Nerd survives
Little kid lamely survives
Dog/Pet miraculously survives
Unresolved subplots skull
"It was all a dream" ending
Unbelievably happy ending
Unbelievably crappy ending
What the hell?