Thursday, August 12, 2010

Piranha (1978, Joe Dante)

Some of my dedicated followers (Hi Mom!) may be saying right now "Uh Starmummy, you stupid bastard, you already reviewed Piranha a year ago!"  Though this may be entirely true Mom, I thought it was worth revisiting, for two main reasons.  A) Alexandre Aja's "re-imagining" (or whatever the hell they are calling remakes these days) of Piranha in 3D is coming to theaters this month and B) Shout! Factory's new re-release of this out of print cult classic (on DVD and for the first time Blu-Ray) deserves some attention.

I'll summarize the plot quickly here (you can read my old review for a more detailed synopsis).  Two teens sneak into an abandoned research facility in the middle of nowhere, go skinny dipping in the random pool that they find there (always a good idea to go swimming in a pool found at an abandoned research facility) and get eaten by killer piranha living in the pool.  An investigator goes to look for them and, with the help of a recluse living near the facility, they accidentally release the piranha into the local river.  They must then find a way to stop the piranha from reaching a nearby summer camp and resort.

A refresher on this film proved worthwhile, for a few reasons.  I actually enjoyed it more than the last time I watched it.  Though not a perfect film, its mix of humor and horror worked well (though I am still one of two people I know who like Piranha 2 better).  The makeup FX work was very well done and the fact that the film had the audacity/balls to kill off a bunch of kids was refreshing (not that I condone child murder or anything).  The main reason I'm glad I gave the film a chance is due to the love provided by Shout Factory's new re-release.  The picture quality looks very bright and clean with very few blemishes and the sound is clear as well.  The bonus features alone are worth the price of the disc, including director/producer commentary, behind the scenes footage, making of featurette, bloopers, outtakes and much more.  Toss in a nice booklet, reversible cover art and a lenticular cover sleeve (on the DVD only) and you've got another fantastic release from Shout Factory.

RATING:  7/10 (though the quality of the bonus features make it a 10/10)

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