--Review by Nic Brown—
What happens when you mix B-Movie legend Roger Corman, director Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Innerspace) and a screenplay about killer, mutant fish attacking a holiday resort? You get 1978’s Piranha.
Piranha is part horror film and part parody
as it attempts to cash in on the Jaws “fear of the water” craze.
When detective Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) is sent to rural
Texas to find two missing teenage hikers, she gets more than she
bargains for. For reasons unknown, she picks a local drunken recluse
named Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to help her find the pair and
he reluctantly agrees. The trail leads to a supposedly abandoned
army research center where they find evidence that the teens they
are looking for had been there, and possibly never left. In an
effort to find them, Maggie and Paul drain the main holding tank
into the nearby river. Only then does Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin
McCarthy) appear. He attacks them and tries to stop the draining,
but it’s too late. Hoak reveals that the tank contained a new mutant
strain of piranha fish that he’d been working on for the government.
Now these killer fish are loose in the river and no one is safe…
well, unless you stay out of the water. Now Paul and Maggie must
deal with disbelieving resort owners, an army cover-up and one
overzealous summer camp director (played by another B-Movie legend
Paul Bartel) as they try to stop the deadly fish from eating
everyone in their path.