Plot: Paul Diller (James Franciscus) has put together a crack team to infiltrate a well armed stronghold and liberate a fortune in emeralds. Robert Lasky (Lee Majors) heads up the squad and after an explosive entry and wild escape, the team secures the emeralds then hides them deep in the waters near a dam. Once the situation has cooled down, the team will retrieve the jewels and ride off into the sunset, rich and happy. Or at least that was the plan. When two of the squad members go back early to take the emeralds, one of them is attacked in the water and killed. Unaware of what lurks below the surface, two more of them try to get to the jewels, only to die blood drenched deaths. Now Lasky, Diller, and Kate Neville (Karen Black) are the only survivors and the emeralds remain guarded by some underwater menace. When it becomes evident that the dam’s waters have been flooded with piranha, what will become of the treasure?
Entertainment Value: This movie has Lee Majors battling thousands of piranha, what else is there to want? I was impressed by Killer Fish, as I expected a lot of dialogue and not much action, but that wasn’t the case. Instead this movie has solid production values and offers up a nice chain of set pieces. The opening sequence has some fun explosions and of course, the piranha attacks are a blast. But even if you don’t think about that cool stuff, Killer Fish has a coherent story and a great cast to bring it to life. In addition to Majors, Franciscus, and Black, we have Margaux Hemingway, Frank Pesce, and the ever creepy Gary Collins. The cast doesn’t phone it in either, so the performances are good across the board. I just wanted some fun effects scenes with the fish, but Killer Fish is a solid all around movie that delivers on all fronts.
Aside from Hemingway’s nipples being visible in a wet dress, Killer Fish offers up no nudity. There is a decent amount of blood, usually thanks to the sharp teeth of those beautiful piranha. The attack scenes are well crafted and work well, with some nice bites and tears on showcase. Not graphic stuff, but for a PG movie, Killer Fish comes through with some nice blood effects. The dialogue has some memorable lines for sure, with Hemingway providing some of the highlights. The writing here is pretty decent and some nice barbs are tossed around. While not on par with the usual movies I cover here, this movie does have some insane elements. Franciscus brings Diller to life in wild fashion and of course, a hurricane of piranha is pretty damn wacky. But this is more a solid movie that has some fleeting moments of insanity, but don’t let the mainstream texture scare you off from this nature (and man) gone wild flick.
Overall Insanity: 3/10