PIRANHA II: FLYING KILLERS
PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING
The first Piranha (1978) was a likeable B-movie that planted tongue firmly in cheek and enthusiastically spoofed the prevailing cycle of seagoing monster movies begun by Steven Spielbergs Jaws (1975). Piranha II tries to bill itself as a sequel to Piranha but there is almost no common ground between the two, short of the two films featuring the common theme of a strain of genetically-engineered piranha attacking a holiday resort. The only person from Piranha involved here is Dutch producer Chako van Leeuwen who reclaimed the rights to Piranha after a bitter legal battle with New World Pictures and then went away to Italy to make this sequel, employing some of the perpetual guilty offenders from the low-budget end of Italian exploitation cinema.
Unlike Piranha, Piranha II misses the point and takes itself deadly seriously. (You cannot help but think if Joe Dante and John Sayles had gotten loose on some of the material here, they could have made an even funnier film than the original). The script comes as a grab-bag of post-Jaws exploitation cliches the authorities who refuse to believe in the menace lest panic disrupt local festivities (although Piranha II has sufficient amusement to have the Jaws-styled pompous authority figures now happy to dismiss the menace as a shark before revealing the truth to be something else); the disbelieved heroine; the scientist killed by his own creations; the businesspeople whose greed proves their undoing; the climactic race against time.
The flying piranha effects are hilariously unconvincing at one point, they are even contrived to do an Alien (1979) chestburster type scene. What makes Piranha II especially awful are the deliberate attempts at humour the bit parts from a middle-aged widow looking to get laid, an incompetent yachtsman, a stuttering bandy-legged chef that are hammed up so badly as to be excruciating. There is some extremely poor camerawork. On the plus side, heroine Tricia ONeil shows she is better than the material at hand and capable of more, although has failed to do anything of significance outside of Piranha II, a probable case of a bad film killing off her career. At least, James Cameron survived such a set-back.
Full film available online here:-