Piranha (1978)

Directed by Joe Dante. Written by Richard Robinson and John Sayles. Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Barbara Steele, Dick Miller, Keenan Wynn and Richard Deacon.

Plot: a military experiment gone wrong releases deadly piranhas into a lake and people start getting eaten.

Two teenagers go missing ater exploring an abandoned military post and a skiptracer, Maggie (Menzies) is sent to find them. She hires a local, Paul (Dillman), to accompany her. Together, they find the military post, a body and some interesting specimens in jars. They accidentally release the piranhas into a nearby river and get Paul’s friend killed. And it’s actually sad.

For a 1978 film about killer fish, there’s a lot of emotion. Like, when you think that Paul might bite it, you’re really scared. Also, the motive is good, the soundtrack is fantastic and it’s funny, too. It followed rules, had a good story, just no Freddy Claws. No one believed Paul and Maggie. Still the nods to other famous “fish” stories push this past the mediocre mark as one woman reads Moby Dick and another plays a Jaws video game.

Our score: 65.

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