Piranha II: The Spawning

Year: 1981

Director: James Cameron

Written by: H.A. Milton

Threat: Fish

Weapon of Choice: Dynamite

IMDb page: IMDb link

      Piranha II

Other movies in this series:

Rish Outfield's reviews
Before Titanic, I was one of James Cameron's biggest fans. After Titanic and The Whole Debacle and tyranist's never-ending tirades against it, I'm still one of James Cameron's biggest fans. So, of course, I was curious about his directorial debut. Well folks, it was a bad movie. He's not entirely to blame, since he didn't write it, or direct all of it . . . but a bad movie, just the same. It wasn't smart or innovative or moving or any of the James Cameron mainstays, in fact, it wasn't even scary. Italian-made, this had a very foreign feel to it, and parts made no sense. The titular monsters were neither frightening nor believable. Lance Henricken's cool, but that's about all that's going for this flick. Sorry, Jim.
Best Scare: There were a couple of moments when we waited for the fish to kill someone, such as when a man is feeling around in the water for something he dropped . . . and then, there was some tension. Still, once the creatures showed themselves, any previous fear was lost.
I'd Recommend It To: If you've gotta see Cameron's first, go ahead. Otherwise, rent The Terminator.

The tyranist's thoughts
This movie was just about as bad as I expected it to be. Even having James Cameron going for it didn't redeem how bad this idea was. Okay, the military has bred a fish that combines all of the aspects of piranhas, flying fish and grunion (this so that they can survive out of water) and then lost one of the barrels of fertilized eggs in a harbor that also happens to house a hotel run by a smarmy bastard. I can tell you that no matter how many times you try, it isn't going to work. On top of all of the normal bad movie offenses, however, is the fact that it so rips of Jaws that I started to wonder if the original evil fish movie were this bad as well. Luckily my memory didn't fail me and I still think Jaws is a pretty good movie.
James Cameron didn't do a terrible job piecing this together. I imagine the fact that there were like three Americans and thousands of Italians working on this made the process a little more difficult. The acting wasn't terrible. The dialogue wasn't bad. But somehow the movie was. Maybe it was those fish. They looked soooo bad. Of course, the fact that this movie is so utterly predictable also didn't help.

Total Skulls: 18

Sequel skull
Sequel setup
Rips off earlier film skull Jaws
Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie
Future celebrity appears skull Lance Henricken
Former celebrity appears
Bad title skull
Bad premise skull
Bad acting
Bad dialogue
Bad execution
MTV Editing
OTS skull
Girl unnecessarily gets naked
Wanton sex skull
Death associated with sex skull
Unfulfilled promise of nudity
Characters forget about threat
Secluded location
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 scene
Car stalls or won't start
Cat jumps out
Fake scare skull
Laughable scare skull
Stupid discovery of corpse
Dream sequence
No one believes only witness skull
Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth
Music detracts from scene skull
Death in first five minutes skull
What the hell? skull
x years ago . . .
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 skull
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