Piranha (1995)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Natural Horror  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Joe Dante's original Piranha (1979) was a small gem, a clever parody of and homage to the numerous eco-kill pictures which followed in the wake of Jaws (1975). It featured a witty script by then little-known screenwriter John Sayles (Lone Star) and a great cast including Paul Bartel, Dick Miller, and Barbara Steele. This made-for-cable remake, however, is an abomination. It was as if director Scott Levy set out to make the original, scene-by-scene, only without benefit of a good cast and script. Screenwriter Alex Simon seems to have intentionally removed any trace of the sly, knowing humor of Sayles in favor of maudlin stock dialogue mouthed by mannequin-like drones. William Katt delivers a tedious performance which makes Bradford Dillman's work in the first Piranha look like art, and the sluggish Alexandra Paul's female lead is only a shadow of Heather Menzies, which is pretty difficult to imagine. The makeup by John Carl Buechler can't hold a candle to the craftsmanship of Rob Bottin's work in the original, either. About the only thing this disaster has going for it is a fairly interesting song called "Killer Mutant Piranhas," performed over the closing credits by Uncle Dog Food. The rest of the film is like watching a dull summary of the original rather than a real movie.



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