Sunday, July 29, 2012

Piranha (1972)


Starring drive-in stalwart William Smith, Piranha is a grungy thriller produced in South America that bears no relation to the cult-fave 1978 Joe Dante flick of the same name. (In fact, not a single killer fish appears onscreen in this movie, excepting the one featured in a stock shot running beneath the main title.) The gist of the piece is that an adventurous American nature photographer, Terry (Anha Capri), heads to Venezuela for work, accompanied by her brother, womanizing party boy Art (Tom Simcox). They hire Jim (Peter Brown) as a guide, but soon fall into the web of Caribe (Smith), a swaggering gringo who promises to help the crew find interesting photographic subjects, like a remote diamond mine. In its broadest strokes, the plot of Piranha is okay—Terry’s got baggage from childhood trauma, Jim’s romantically interested in Terry, Caribe is an operator with a secret agenda, and so on. Plus, since it turns out Caribe is actually a psycho trying to draw Terry away from civilization so he can rape her and kill her companions, it’s not as if the picture wants for dramatic content. The problem, or at least one of them, is the directionless script and the padded running time. Piranha contains perhaps 30 minutes of purposeful(ish) dramatic scenes, and the rest of the picture comprises endless montages of jungle animals, primitive locals, and other National Geographic-type material. There’s even an interminable motorcycle race. Compounded by the amateur nature of the acting—excepting Smith, who is as menacing as possible given the movie’s stupid dialogue—the narrative dead weight makes Piranha a long journey not worth taking.

Piranha: SQUARE

1 comment:

WILLIAM GOODWIN said...

kinda cool for a 70s film. William Smith is the usual bad-ass badguy. Its funny how people (characters) superimpose their own BS on others until "O wait, its meeeeeeee....."

Terry was an annoying bitch 5 min. till the end. Where's the piranhas when you need'em?

Most interesting character - the psycho. 2nd is a tie between Jim and Terry. Art - fluff.