Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 16, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Sony (Australia). Region 2, 4 & 5, PAL. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 2.0, French DD 2.0, German DD 2.0, Spanish DD 2.0. English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, English (FHI) Subtitles. 90 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Tricia O'Neil, Lance Henriksen, Steve Marachuk, Ricky G. Paull Screenplay: H.A. Milton
Music: Steve Powder
Tagline: The terror is back... but this time it flies!
Country: USA/Italy
AKA: Piranha II: Flying Killers
Considering his work since, it is hard to believe James Cameron's first feature, Piranha II: The Spawning, was a box office flop. Luckily for Cameron, Piranha II was a hit on video, which then gave him the opportunity to make a little known cult film, The Terminator.

Whereas the first film was a Jaws parody/homage, this sequel firmly set its teeth into the neck of the big shark film, as both its setting - an island resort, and its hero - a grim police chief, were completely plagiarized from it.

Piranha II: The Spawning tells of a small island in the Caribbean where vacationers can stay at the lavish resort of Club Elysium. There are many wonderful things to do on this resort, such as SCUBA diving with the lovely instructor, Anne Kimbrough (Tricia O'Neil), until the day she loses a diver while exploring a sunken vessel. Her estranged husband, police chief Steve (Lance Henriksen) investigates, but not to her satisfaction. She and holiday maker Tyler (Steve Marachuck) decide to do a little investigation themselves, and what they uncover is a government conspiracy to cover up a batch of mutated piranha eggs that have hatched in the wild and released salt water breathing, but more importantly FLYING, piranha… and all this as a large festival is to start at the club, with many hotel patrons at risk. When Steve and Anne's son, Chris (Ricky Paull) goes missing while crewing a small boat for a boat owner, their worries escalate…

This film comes across with so many attempts at innuendo and camp humor I thought I was watching Carry On Piranha at times; all it needed was for someone to squeal 'Ooo-er Missus' and the picture would have been complete. This bad comedy is so prevalent that I believe if you cut out all the seaside resort comedy bits, you would have a pretty decent half hour horror film. When making this movie, the producers must have decided to throw the laws of physics and leverage out of the window, considering how agile the flying piranhas are when they attack out of water. They fly like eagles, they hover like hummingbirds, and they strike like hawks. There are really only three reasons to own this disc: if you are a James Cameron completist, a Lance Henriksen completist, or you like eighties movies with hot chicks in them.
Video
This movie is presented in a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is mostly good, but at times grainy and occasionally out of focus.
Audio
The audio is in 2.0 mono and never breaks up. Actually the sounds of the incoming piranha attacks are probably the best thing about this DVD.
Extra Features
The only extras on this disc are trailers for Anaconda, Men in Black II and Spider-Man.
The Verdict
Piranha II: The Spawning is a classic example of the eighties need to sequelize everything, no matter how unnecessary. The first Piranha parodied Jaws slyly and with a wry wit, whereas this goes for out and out comedy. In general, this is a below average B grade film, with matching below average image and sound. This is a sorry looking disc for a film that completely missed the point of why the first one existed.
Movie Score
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