PIRANHA (1995) Reviews and overview

 

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‘Lost River Lake was a thriving resort… until they discovered…’

Piranha is a 1995 American science fiction horror film about piranhas that are accidentally released into a river by a summer resort. It is a remake of the 1978 Joe Dante film of the same name.

Directed by Scott P. Levy (House of the Damned; The Alien Within) from a screenplay by Alex Simon (Bloodfist VIII: Trained to Kill; The Alien Within), based on John Sayles’ screenplay for Piranha (1978). Produced by Mike Elliott and Hisako Tsukuba (as Chako van Leeuwen). Executive produced by Roger Corman.

The Concorde-New Horizons production stars William Katt, Alexandra Paul, Monte Markham, Darleen Carr, Mila Kunis, Soleil Moon Frye, Kehli O’Byrne and James Karen.

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Reviews:

” …this is so close to the original but missing all of the parts that actually make Piranha a much better movie than it ever deserved to be. Maybe this was just to try and hold onto the copyright to the title, but it’s really not fun at all.” B&S About Movies

“The low-budget nature of the original Piranha really hasn’t been improved upon […] Piranha is what it is.  It is a relatively short movie and that is a plus.  The horror existed in the first film, but it was aided by a smarter story that took what it was and laughed about it.  The sound of the piranha attacks always creeped me out, and it still does.” Basement Rejects

“This is very slow, has a low budget, features dodgy acting, a corny plot and terrible effects and it is played seriously. A truly terrible remake.” Eat Horror

“Unexpectedly, this remake of a previous Roger Corman production is marginally better than its predecessor, due to updated makeup effects and a willingness to embrace edgier exploitation picture components (it’s also incredibly similar to the 2010 version, which stole far more from this take than modern audiences are aware of) […] It’s not a great movie (in fact, it’s laughable more often than not), but it’s routinely funny, eyebrow-raising, and boasts a riotous finale.” Gone with the Twins

“If anything, there are some pretty funny moments in there… intentional or not. To be fair, there were some good choices like not having the weird creature in the military facility, and Paul and Maggie not having sex, but the movie itself is pretty lackluster. Not awful, but definitely not great.” Life Between Frames

“Ultimately, this movie doesn’t do anything new.  The only changes are in casting or slightly tweaking the plot to excise the elements that were overtly ripping-off/parodying Jaws.  When in doubt, cut the humor and remove the film’s sense of identity!  So, unless you thought that the Scientist just had to be a woman instead of a man, you can freely skip this one.” Mondo Bizarro

“Overall, this is an unneeded remake, but it’s not a completely horrible one. The gore is a little better in one or two scenes, the acting is worse in others (if you can believe that), and the storyline is almost entirely identical. You’ll probably enjoy this if you enjoyed the original, but if you have indeed seen the original, you really have no reason to watch this one unless you’re fanatical about the series.” Movies Made Me Do It

“While it’s not an out-and-out disaster, your time will be better spent watching any other film bearing that name, even Cameron’s infamously bad follow-up, which at least has some impressive gore effects and a thoroughly Italian sh*ttiness stinking up the joint. This just feels like someone doing Piranha via karaoke, as if Corman instructed the cast and crew to simply watch the original and pantomime.” Oh, the Horror!

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“Has plenty of fish mayhem to make up for the lack of characters and meaning, but even those parts are weak. Passes time, but is instantly forgettable.” Splatter Critic

“Some moments of tension work better than others […] Stereotypical characters are also a problem. Cops are particularly clichéd, here. We get a shady businessman, an opportunistic film director, and a woman who would do anything to play in his productions, including showing skin. Meanwhile, we’re not spending our precious time with the piranha…” Tales of Terror

“As far as the Piranha franchises goes, this is somewhere in the middle of the pack.  It’s missing the out and out fun of Dante and Aja’s pictures and lacks the goofy charm of James Cameron’s Piranha 2 and John Gulager’s Piranha 3DD. It’s still a fairly enjoyable time waster. It moves at an acceptable pace and the piranha attacks occur at a steady clip.” The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:

William Katt … Paul Grogan
Alexandra Paul … Maggie McNamara
Monte Markham … J.R. Randolph
Darleen Carr … Doctor Leticia Baines
Mila Kunis … Susie Grogan
Soleil Moon Frye … Laura
Kehli O’Byrne … Gina Green
James Karen … Governor
Drancy Jackson … Jimmy
Billie Worley … Whitney
Shannon Farrara … Darlene
Kaz Garas … Sheriff Carl
Richard Israel … Dave
Lorissa McComas … Barbara
Leland Orser … Terry Wechsler
James Brodhead … Jack
Chelsea Madison-Ciu … Betsy
David Parry … Trooper
Ben Slack … Earl Lyon
Aaron Priceman … Camp Counselor
Lincoln Kilpatrick … Father
Joey Aresco … Actor
Don Pedro Colley … Leonard
John Nelson … Sailboat Man
Tracy Shakespeare … Sailboat Woman
Gabriel Bologna … Medic
Kevin Contreras … Newscaster #1
Christopher Murphy … Newscaster #2
Rob Kerchner … Newscaster #3
Joshua D. Comen … Water Skier
Cinda-Lin James … Ski Boat Woman #1 (as Cynda James)
Ellen G. Statham … Ski Boat Woman #2

Technical details:

89 minutes
Audio: Ultra Stereo

Trailer:

Movie timeline: