Piranha (1995)

Synopsis: Doctor Baines has been conducting genetic experiments on piranhas and has made them virtually unstoppable. Unfortunately, his assistants, Maggie and Paul, accidentally release the hybrids into the Lost River Lake threatening to destroy everyone in their path. Can they prevent the flesh-eating piranhas from escaping into the ocean and spawning?
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Piranha (1995) 3.0

To those of you who wondered why, this summer, someone bothered to release a remake of the low-budget cult classic ‘Piranha‘, a film that by its very nature can only appeal to a severely limited audience, I have to ask you this: why then had it already been remade as a TV movie in the mid-’90s? Is there something there that maybe isn’t so obvious at first glance?

Well, the question can be answered by this first remake, which I had the opportunity of seeing recently. In my opinion, the fun of the original was in the way it was put together; it didn’t really take itself so seriously that the fun was hidden under layers of drama. Sadly, the makers of the remake didn’t realise how preposterous the premise is – instead, they turned almost everything into a melodramatic soup, including some new ingredients that served to cheapen the end product.

In fact, it felt a little bit like a bad Stephen King TV movie. Only more boring. And, anyone who’s seen the lesser King adaptations knows how low it can go – so you can just imagine what this is like. But let me get to the point so that you don’t have to put any thought in it:

-this version of ‘Piranha’ is boooooooring. It’s the same film as the original, only without any sense of fun and with the suspense sucked right out of it.
-it was also cheesier (if this can be imagined, considering that the original was made in the late ’70s!).
-some of the actors were better (which isn’t hard to beat, truth be told). And yet, many were actually worse (!)
-it’s so low-budget and poorly conceived that it even reused some of the underwater piranha footage from the original.

Really, it was THAT bad.

Let me set up a scene that says it all: the piranhas were a government-sponsored experiment. They were kept in a pool at a research centre in the mountains. In this version of the tale, the pool is akin to any commercially-available pool that one might buy for one’s yard: it’s no more than 20 meters in diameter and it’s so shallow that an adult can stand in it and remain out of the water at least from the armpits up (or more, if taller).

So how is it that, in broad daylight, our two protagonists looked into the pool, saw absolutely nothing of concern and proceeded to empty it of its contents so as to examine the bottom for clues to the disappearance of two teens? Considering the number of piranhas that were supposedly in there, the pool should have teeming with them and a quick glance should have indicated that something was up.

Oh, but no! Not in this movie! In here, the two twits are blind as bats (see above), extremely rude (after all, they didn’t get permission to empty this pool), and stupid to boot (they find a human skeleton at the bottom of the pool and write it off as being a dead dog – not realizing that a dead dog shouldn’t be in the pool in the first place, picked clean of all its flesh. Not that you can mistake a human skeleton with that of a canine anyway)

So, to those of you who wonder why someone bothered to release a made-for-TV remake of the low-budget cult classic ‘Piranha’ instead of just playing the original, I have this to say: I’m as confused as you. I mean, what was the point? Why remake something that’s not so bad into something horrible? While I can understand the appeal of revisiting (many times over!) the 1956 classic ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, did ‘Piranha’ need to be remade at all?

What do you think?

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