Not a terrible film, but there was a remake in the 90s with the exact same story featuring better acting and better effects, so you can probably skip straight ahead to that one. Now I know that if I had been around when that remake came out, I'd probably be the first in line to complain "Why'd you even bother? It's just the first movie over again!", but seeing as I watched them both in retrospect, I can ignore the fact that I'm being a total hypocrite and move right ahead to recommending you just watch the remake.
_Final rating:★★ - Had some things that appeal to me, but a poor finished product._
Adventuresome and fun "Jaws" homage with far superior women
RELEASED IN 1978 and directed by Joe Dante, “Piranha” chronicles events when genetically-enhanced piranha are accidently released into a river system in central Texas, which threaten kids & counselors at a Summer Camp and vacationers at a lake resort. A spirited skip tracer (Heather Menzies) and a backwoods drunkard (Bradford Dillman) team-up to save the swimmers. Kevin McCarthy and Barbara Steele play military scientists who experimented with the escaped piranha.
While "Piranha" is sort of a "Jaws" (1975) knockoff, it’s different enough to not be a rip-off: The story takes place in a river system deep in the mainland and not the ocean; the ‘monster’ consists of teams of little vicious fish rather than a huge Great White Shark; the beach sequences involve quaint campground-like beaches rather than major ocean beaches; unlike “Jaws,” there’s a focus on alluring young women, although “Jaws 2” (1978) delivered the goods in this area as well; there’s more of a sense of adventure and even suspense; and the tone mixes-in amusing elements with the horrific mayhem.
As inferred, the picture is highlighted by several quality females with curvy Belinda Balaski (from "The Howling") and cutie Melody Thomas Scott (from The Young and the Restless) featured in prominent roles. Moreover, voluptuous Janie Squire has some worthy screen time in the prologue. There are superb women in the periphery as well. Interestingly, the 2010 quasi-remake, “Piranha 3D,” took the sleaze route with loads of nudity, but the women are ironically hotter here, not to mention the film’s all-around more entertaining.
THE MOVIE IS LEAN and filler-free at 93 minutes and was shot along a river near San Marcos in the heart of Texas, Northeast of San Antonio. WRITERS: John Sayles and Richard Robinson.