BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Piranha II: The Spawning (1981) - Blu-ray Review

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Piranha: The Spawning - Blu-ray Review

2 beersJames Cameron's first movie as a director isn’t very good.  Even by B-movie standards Piranha II: The Spawning leaves much to be desired.  The film, being a sequel to Roger Corman and Joe Dante’s successful flick, should have been wilder, funnier, and a bit more on point in the horror department.  It is neither of these things and, as a result, continues to just flip flop around struggling to breathe out of the water. And no one is lending this poor thing a helping hand.

Cameron, who disavows his involvement in the production, also knows the film sucks which is why he claims his first film doesn’t happen until 1984 with the arrival of The Terminator.  Sorry, dude.  You have to cut your teeth somewhere and, with solid action and kill scenes shoehorned into an otherwise ridiculous film, Piranha II is ultimately his film.  There are far too many watery clues (Cameron’s sea obsession) here to suggest otherwise.

"Too bad Piranha II: The Spawning doesn’t live up to the undersea pressure."


There was obviously a war going on during Piranha II’s production and the film itself was the ultimate casualty.  Executive Producer Ovidio Assonitis might be the responsible party, too.  He obviously wanted more T&A in this flick and Cameron, who was geared more toward the violence as Lance Henriksen, as leader of the local police, goes all in saving his family from death by mutated flying fish.  That’s right.  This time out, the flesh-eating fish are flying out of the water toward their subjects.

The sheer lunacy of the script isn’t the problem here.  Nope.  It’s the damn tone.  This movie is far too serious for its own good and repeat viewings, as there is little to enjoy in this flick outside of Leslie Graves and a couple of kill sequences, will only further damage its reputation.  Scene by scene, this flop simply dies from lack of suspense and reward.  This film, no matter who ultimately edited it, is just a big old pile of poop.  Rumor is that Cameron would film what he had written and Assonitis, wanting to make his version of a sexed-up Jaws, would take the actors and the actresses off to remote locations and shoot sex scenes.

It’s true that the film needs something to keep our interest.  It’s a wandering mess of a movie, failing to deliver on death by flying little fishies time and time again.  We get characters introduced constantly and, while we honestly expect them to come to a violent end, they instead ramble off screen.  Some fall in the ocean providing comedic relief and others, with nothing better to do, simply flirt with younger characters and then disappear into a fog.  Talk about a letdown.  

If this is a horror film, it certainly doesn’t feel like it.  Filmed in the Grand Caymans and in Rome, this production doesn’t even use its locations to good effort.  Only one scene makes good use of its space and that is a kill scene built upon not knowing what is exactly in the water.  The others, including a helicopter crash as Henriksen jumps out of the cockpit into the sea, just fail to create any sense of urgency and danger; things just happen.

Piranha: The Spawning - Blu-ray Review

Co-starring Tricia O'Neil as Anne Kimbrough and Ricky G. Paull as Chris, the son to Henriksen’s Steve character that he must save, Piranha II is a film that does a lot to keep a dysfunctional family together, even if that means boring its audience to tears with far too many characters, uneven pacing, and a rather doomed production history.

Scream Factory, with this new 2K scan of the original camera negative, dares to dive in and give fans of the first flick exactly what they want: more piranhas.  Too bad Piranha II: The Spawning doesn’t live up to the undersea pressure.

Piranha: The Spawning = Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
84 mins
Director
: James Cameron
Writer:
Ovidio G. Assonitis, James Cameron
Cast:
Tricia O'Neil, Steve Marachuk, Lance Henriksen
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Terror Is Back....But This Time It Flies!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Oh my God... Allison! Words can't describe the trouble we're in."
Theatrical Distributor:
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 5, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 31, 1982
Synopsis: It may seem like paradise, but just off shore, a new brand of terror has been unleashed ...

While investigating the mysterious death of a diver, scuba instructor Anne Kimbrough (Tricia O'Neil, Are You In The House Alone?) makes a horrific discovery: mutated piranhas, with wings that enable them to fly, are responsible for the death. As the body count rises, Anne desperately tries to convince the manager of the resort to call off the annual fish fry on the beach, but he's determined to give his guests the ultimate feeding frenzy.

Piranha: The Spawning - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- July 31, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Language:
English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The new 2K HD scan of Piranha II: The Spawning is expertly done.  The result is a crackling and consistent image of beauty and leafy goodness that is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The salt of the sea can be practically smelled through the screen.  This is the film’s first remaster from the original camera negatives and the impact is striking.  Colors are strong.  Reds are glorious ripe as evidenced by the detail in the bodacious bikini-clad babes taunting the stuttering cook on the shore.  Black levels are strong, too.  The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono is appropriate enough to carry both the funk and the furry of the flick.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Nobody wants to comment on this release.  I am sure its history is far more interesting than the film itself.

Special Features:

With NEW interviews from Ricky Paull, who still raves about Henricksen, and special effects artist Brian Wade, the new supplemental items are interesting.  A theatrical trailer rounds out the collection.

NEW Interview With Actor Ricky Paull Goldin

NEW Interview With Special Effects Artist Brian Wade

Theatrical Trailer

Piranha: The Spawning = Blu-ray Review

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