A couple of teenage
backpack travellers named David (Roger
Richman) and Barbara (Janie Squire)
decides to trespass an abandoned US Army
test site on a mountain which has a huge
swimming pool so they decide to go
swimming in it as they think that it's
just an ordinary pool but are eaten alive
by flesh eating pirahna's which reside in
A young woman P.I. named Maggie McKeown
(Heather Menzies) is hired by a father of
one of the kids that were eaten by these
monstrous fish to go on a search for them
as they are reported missing and meets up
with one of the people who resides there
named Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) as
they both find the test site and tries to
drain the pool to see what's inside of it
but one of the people named Dr. Robert
Hoak (Kevin McCarthy) tries to stop them
and warns them that the sole resident of
the test site - who informs them that the
inhabitants of the pool were the products
of a gene-splicing experiment called
'Operation Razorteeth', designed to
produce a mutant strain of piranha fish
for deployment in the Vietnam War against
the NVA and can live in cold water as
well as breed at a high rate. But he is
knocked out and drain the pool regardless
and finds a skeletal corpse as they think
it was a dog.
The three of them go on a mission on a
raft in the lake where the water from the
pool drains was unleashed and spot some
people that were killed by these
pirahna's and they're on their way to a
nearby camp which Paul's daughter named
Suzie (Shannon Colins) is staying at and
tries to find his way there and warns
them not to go in the water but they are
arrested after Dr. Hoak is eaten alive by
these fish while rescuing a boy when they
try to contact the camp director Mr.
Dumont (Paul Bartel), as well as a resort
owner named Buck Gardner (Dick Miller)
whom has his guests swimming and sailing
nearby about the dangers of these
pirahna's thinking that they are
pranksters causing trouble.
They manage to escape but they may be too
late as they seem to be invading the lake
There's some good takes on both Paul Grogan and Maggie McKeown walking down a stairway to the army base
Many good camera shots on a lab
showing weird creatures with the two of
them looking around and feeling creepy
about all of it.
We spot a cheesy struggle between Paul and Dr. Robert Hoak when he tries to turn on
the draining of the pool.
But there's a nice shot with both Paul and Maggie McKeown standing in the pool that was drained
with a skeletal figure lying there.
There's many terrific camera shots on all
three of them on a raft in a lake trying
to go on a search.
We spot a good scene with Jack sitting on a
pier with his feet in the water chucking
a piece of meat in the lake and talking
to his dog drunk. There's a nice shot on
the meat being sucked in the lake and
later a nice shot of some bloody
splashings near his feet as he reacts
well by yelling in pain.
A good shot on him lying on the
ground trying to look dead but he doesn't
look convinced as it looks like he's
pretending to be dead by a nice brief sob
We have a good shot on a father in a canoe putting his arm in the water
while sitting in a canoe which leaves a
good impression that it's not a good idea
and although he doesn't react too well we
do have a good suspenseful camera shot on
his being pulled in with bloody water
spraying all over while he's being sucked
There's a good shot on Suzie Grogan while sitting on a pier at
camp while having a discussion with Laura Dickinson trying to cheer her up
while being homesick even if the
scene looked quite dated.
A nice shot on Robert trying
to swim over towardsa boy in a canoe with the camera aiming aright at the
child while struggling to save some when
he's eaten alive by pirahna's as the
scene did look fairly suspenseful.
There are lots of good shots on the
pirahna's eating the rope tied to the
raft with all Paul, Maggie and the boy trying to struggle
to stay on.
A nice discussion between Laura and Betsy near the
lake on the pier talking about possibly
going for a swim along with a camp
counselor disturbing them asking about if
they know some kids trying to go for a
swim after curfew while they try to get
his attention somewhere else. It looked
comedic but it was very stale.
There's a great shot on Paul running as fast as he can through a
pathway to a dam while a shot on a dam
guard is watching an old show on TV in
which the scene was trying to give
you a few chuckles along with a
suspenseful moment but fails completely.
We have many great shots on the
kids and camp counsellors swimming and
splashing in the lake and react
terrifically when they're attacked by the
pirahna's as well as a nice shot on a
pirahna in a lake aiming at the camera in
a speeding moment.
There's a good shot on Mr. Dumont looking
around the lake with a pirahna jumping at
his face which nearly makes you jump.
Many terrific shots on both Paul and Maggie stealing a police
car and quickly speeding on a road or any
where they can reach the camp.
A nice shot on someone skiing in the water trying
to tell the boat drivers to warn them
about something with a good shot on a woman sitting at the boat watching him.
Lots of suspenseful shots on a boat
running over another boat and the boat
There's more great shots on the pirahna's
attacking the extra's in the water as
guests of the mayors show with them
splashing around and screaming.
There's many good shots on Paul swimming underwater trying to reach
something with pirahna's ready to attack
Bottom line is that this is one of those films
that was made after the success of Jaws which is a totally bland ripoff but
became a cult classic to many horror
movie fans. There's even a beginning
moment after the opening cradits with the
lead actress playing a Jaws arcade
game. Pretty typical. However, the film can be fun to watch if
you're in the mood for a corny horror
flick and it tries way too hard to be
funny as well which the humor is very
stale and cheesy. There's many tongue in cheek moments with
kids doing pranks at the camp as I'm
convinced this is what inspired the
people who made Meatballs
but that one was a much better film by
any means. There's the odd suspenseful moments with
the pirahna's attacking which seems quite
amusing but the story sinks like the film
The acting is very
wooden and uninspired but some try the
best they can. Heather Menzies (Maggie McKeown) seems
to have just the looks for her part when
I was first watching this movie but again
she didn't seem terrible either just
nothing too special that's all. She does well trying to call the
onscreen mayor on the other line by trying to be serious about pirahna's
entering his way.
Bradford Dillman (Paul Grogan) showed some good
energy to his part with the odd
aggression too but needed to pick it up a
bit more. Again, this film is over 30
years old so the acting looked dated. He
seemed to do not too bad otherwise.
Kevin McCarthy (Dr. Robert Hoak) looked right playing
an eccentric doctor at the hatchery but
seemed extremely lacking with his
performance in which he often does a good
job in other shows which is surprising. He didn't seem convincing in a scene
after he wakes up on a mattress telling
two of his fellow actors by what they've just done. He was quite wooden when he is slowly dying at the end of his performance.
Keenan Wynn (Jack) does a fine job and
brings humor to his part as a drunken one
in the film trying to bring as much
character as he can in his part of the
film. I always enjoyed his work ever
since he was in the Disney classic Herbie
Dick Miller (Buck Gardner) brings on his humor well
as the mayor but of course he was always
a worthy character actor and brings his
roles to life regardless. Does well not taking someone seriously when is told on the phone of piranha's coming in his area.
Child actress Shannon Colins
seems to do well with her innocent
childlike behavior at camp really making
her part come to life by being homesick.
Barbara Steele (Dr. Mengers) really knew her stuff
as usual in her work playing a closed
minded type in the film as well as
knowing how to really bring out her words
when she has a secret about something.
Melody Thomas Scott (Laura Dickinson) seemed to know
how to play a sympathetic camp counsellor
in the film making her role very
Paul Bartel (Mr. Dumont) however tried to be a
funny by being a scrict camp owner but he
seems to fail at all will not being a
comedic character like he was supposed to
A teenage girl
takes off her top to swim in a pool at
Heather Menzies briefly flashes her
breasts to an actor playing a solider to
get his attention.
Some women have their breasts briefly
exposed while pirahna's are trying to
bite them off in the water.
Many people are
eaten alive by pirahna's with their skin
being bitten as well as some chewed up
A man's legs are torn by pirahna bites
The music by Pino Donaggio sounds good with
the high and low violin music especially
during a sequence where kids are attacked
by pirahna's in a lake almost sounding a
cheesy type Carrie when
the prom is on fire kind of way. There's also some comedic flute marine
playing with the tapping of the drums
when the two leads in the film tries to
find a way of tricking a soldier in order
to escape. There's also adventureous
trumpet and trombone music too for the
suspense in the film.
Buck Gardner: What about the
Whitney: They're eating the
People eat fish, Grogan. Fish don't eat
McKeown: That guard is still out
Paul Grogan: Fine, I need you to
Maggie McKeown: What for?
Paul Grogan: So I can get away.
Maggie McKeown: So YOU can get
away? What about me?
Paul Grogan: Well suit yourself.
Just come onto him, tell him what an
admirer you are of Army or something like
Maggie McKeown: What if he's gay?
Paul Grogan: Then I'll go and