Piranha (1995) Review: Roger Corman Remake
“Lost River Lake was a thriving resort… Until they discovered…”
Synopsis: While searching for a missing teen, a PI accidentally releases genetically-engineered piranha into a local river, endangering hundreds.
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If you like dumb creature features and you haven’t seen Piranha (1978), you might like Piranha (1995). If you have seen the original… don’t bother with this one.
Piranha (1995) takes remake to a whole new level of pointlessness. It’s practically a shot-for-shot redo of the original – which, while entertaining, was hardly a cinematic masterpiece to begin with. This version further distinguishes itself by actually using recycled special effects and shots of the piranha from the original movie. And let me tell you: the effects were forgivable in 1978, but there’s absolutely no excuse for them in 1995.
Aside from a few minor tweaks, the plot is the same between the two movies. The Army scientist is a woman, not a man; no Army patrol with Barbara Steele shows up; PI Maggie (Alexandra Paul) is slightly less psychotic; loner Paul (William Katt) is slightly less of a drunk. And judging from the similarity between the two movies, had I seen this Piranha first, I might have enjoyed it more. Still, it lacks the humor of the original. It also doesn’t even include credible sets, which the first movie managed.
There’s really no reason to watch this over the original. It has fewer boobs, less humor, and less believable gore. I’m still not even sure how it got made; Piranha (1978) was created to capitalize on the Jaws phenomenon, but there wasn’t a similar argument for putting out this version. It’s entertaining to see young Mila Kunis and Soleil Moon Frye, but it’s not worth an hour and a half of your time. You’ll recognize a few other faces (James Karen, for one), but even the bigger names do a pretty lousy job with their parts. (The best actor in the movie by far is the dog.) The Marilyn Manson-esque theme song is pretty entertaining, but again… it’s not worth the hour and a half of your time.
You won’t need to drink to forget Piranha (1995), but you’re better off watching the original or the loose 2009 remake.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C-
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