After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents.
A scuba diving instructor, her biochemist boyfriend, and her police chief ex-husband try to link a series of bizarre deaths to a mutant strain of piranha fish whose lair is a sunken freighter ship off a Caribbean island resort.
A baby alligator is flushed down a Chicago toilet and survives by eating discarded laboratory rats injected with growth hormones. The small reptile grows gigantic, escapes the city sewers, and goes on a rampage.
Michael V. Gazzo
In the wake of "Jaws" came countless man vs. nature flicks with everything from bees to grizzly bears to frogs coming out to get man back for his crimes against the ecology (and don't forget "Night of the Lepus" in which huge bunny rabbits munched on hapless victims!) This film is considered one of the best imitators, primarily because of its tongue-in-cheek approach and it's deliberately campy writing and casting. Menzies is a hotshot missing persons expert who goes in search of two young hikers who have disappeared. She enlists the aid of hermit-like Dillman who lives near an abandoned government testing facility where the hikers were last suspected to have been. When they come upon a murky tank and believe the bodies could be at the bottom, Menzies releases the contents, unwittingly unleashing a school of vicious, genetically-altered piranha onto an unsuspecting river full of camp kids and park revelers. From there, it's a race against the clock to get to Dillman's young daughter who is about to enter a camp relay race in the water downstream. The film is deliberately peppered with actors who've made their mark in either horror or suspense films and it makes no pretenses about its lack of originality (though it does manage to come up with some despite itself!) Dillman (sporting an atrocious come-and-go Southern accent) and Menzies have a surprisingly decent rapport with each other with a few amusing scenes tossed in amongst all the panic. McCarthy pops up as a terrified scientist who knows his plans have gone awry. Wynn has a cameo as a gruff, but likable neighbor of Dillman's. Steele plays an ominous scientist in cahoots with Army colonel Gordon to keep the whole situation under wraps. Bartel is the persnickety camp counselor and Miller is the smarmy amusement park owner, both of whom disbelieve that there's any danger. Despite it's minuscule budget and rather homemade effects, the film does generate a bit of eye-opening gore and more than a little discomfort as these tiny fish nibble away at anything in the water. If "Jaws" caused people to avoid the ocean, this film could make people think twice about cloudy rivers and lakes! The murkiness of the water only adds to the horror of it all as the bikini-clad tourists and innertube-wielding kids can't begin to see what's coming. It's just a sting, then a nibble, then blood everywhere! Some of the effects are tacky and amusing, but there's a certain level of true fear as well. If one likes this genre to begin with, it will probably be a pleasure to watch. Others may be less enthralled.
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