September 7, 2010

Movie Review: Pig Hunt (2008)

If I told you I just watched a movie called Pig Hunt, what would you think? Would you imagine some sort of giant pig going around killing people? Sure you would. You would probably even chuckle about it a little. Yes, don't even try to deny it. Now, to take it a step further, how would you respond if I told you that I liked it? Most people would not be able to hold back their laughter. Frankly, I don't blame you. A movie called Pig Hunt and the images the title conjures up is funny, the stuff of midnight cable. However, in this case the film is actually quite good with a healthy helping of crazy.

I do not mean to imply this is a great film by any stretch. It is a low budget film that shows through in its look and in the quality of the performances. What makes it stand out is the style that director James Isaac brings to the table and the bizarre story elements from writers Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson. It does take a little while to get going,but once it does, it does not let up, and then there are the things that happen in the final act that are just completely unexpected.

The film opens with a man in the woods, scared and running. As the opening circumstances appear dire, we know that this will not end well for him. Screaming, squealing, a gunshot, and silence. The only thing we can assume is that man is dead. We never see him again and the scene shifts to the city.

pighuntpostWe pick up the action with John Hickman (Travis Aaron Wade). He is getting a group of friends, not to mention his ex-girlfriend, Brook (Tina Huang), together to go wild boar hunting on his late uncle's land (turns out the man at the start was John's uncle). This is the slow and uninteresting part of the story. We tag along for their drive out into the wilderness while listening to the group bicker, laugh, joke, and otherwise yammer on about things I do not really care for. This extended bit is meant to introduce us to the characters and their various personality quirks. All it really does is give us time to figure out the order they die in and who will survive.

I loved as they arrived in the backwater town and they pass the cabin with all the hillbilly rednecks standing around outside as if they were posing for a fashion magazine. It turns out that two of these fellows were John's childhood friends. It is clear to see they took slightly different life paths. This pair are your typical redneck types with dirty clothes, bad teeth, and a way with knives an guns.

Together they head off to find some boars, and perhaps the legendary 3,000 pound boar nicknamed The Ripper. Well, let's just say that things happen and before too long the friends find themselves being hunted by a bloodthirsty redneck gang. There is running, gun fire, motorcycles, trucks, fist fights, and other manner of violence.

That's not all, this movie is called Pig Hunt after all and what would it be without a pig? We get a pig and  hippie commune with random nudity and drug use. Uh oh, I may have said too much. Let me just say that some wild and crazy things begin to happen once the rednecks are on the hunt. It caught me off guard. I thought for sure this was going to end up being something like Pimeval or some SyFy channel nonsense.  This does some weird stuff and it works. There is definitely some creativity flowing through the creative team on this.

This is clearly not a high budget production, but James Isaac does a lot with a little. This is probably a better gauge for his talent than his last two outings (Jason X, which I liked but let's face it, likely had a lot of outside influence, and Skinwalkers, which I have not seen but understand was chopped to a PG-13 rating). He is not afraid to get down in the dirt and puts a lot of energy on the screen, which more than makes up for the acting issues.


This movie is quite surprising. I went in expecting  lame horror film with a big pig and got some bizarre low budget mash up of redneck assault, 70's Euro-trash, horror, wilderness adventure film. Ultimately it is a horror film, but it brings these other elements into the mix. Just watch as it progressively gets crazier and crazier, fantastic.

This film is being released by Lightning Media in a partnership with Fangoria. What I do hope is that the DVD release is better than the screener I received. The video quality is not the best, but I suspect that is more a result of the low-budget nature. What I really hope for is a proper presentation of the aspect ratio. The screener was 1.33:1 and this is clearly not what it is mean to be. lists it as a having a 185:1 ratio, which sounds a bit more in line with what I was expecting. Often times characters were cut off at the sides and everything felt squeezed.

Bottomline. Yes, Pig Hunt is a good movie. No, it is not perfect. It is what it is and no more. For all the bad acting, it truly does deliver. I had no idea what was coming next. There is a stream of consciousness quality that brings the film to life. If you like low budget horror, give this one a shot.


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Article first published as Movie Review: Pig Hunt (2008) on Blogcritics.


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