I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Pig Hunt

tn_pighuntPIG HUNT is a 2009 low budget horror romp that was released by Fangoria, a magazine I proudly subscribe to but, let’s be honest, not a name I trust on a video cover. A group of friends from San Francisco take a trip out to some property that this guy John (Travis Aaron Wade) inherited from his uncle, where they’re gonna go hunting together. It’s some macho dudes and one resented-but-tough girlfriend (Tina Huang, who apparently played a waitress in DRIVE). And there’s a giant pig out there somewhere.

I almost said there might be a giant pig out there, to avoid spoilers, but that would be a disappointing movie if they set up the possibility of a giant pig and then didn’t follow through, wouldn’t it? So don’t worry, there’s a pig. But it’s not a straight monster movie, there’s more threats involved and they’re both human and regular-sized.
Tension comes right away with an encounter at the gas station. A dude and a bunch of girls in weird robes. Our protagonists keep calling them hippies, but I don’t think these are the type of hippies you normally see in the Bay area, are they? They all carry swords (actually, ritualistic blades like the killer used in NIGHT SCHOOL) and they disagree with John’s decision to shoot a rattlesnake with his crossbow. They love animals. They don’t seem vegan, though. I bet there is one type of meat they’re okay with. Not sure.

mp_pighuntNext are the rednecks that live near the property and stand around spitting tobacco and looking scary in front of a giant American flag. They knew John growing up and a couple of them annoy their way into the hunting party. They’re kind of the redneck stereotype made fun of in TUCKER AND DALE: bitter, dirty white trash dudes who are always hostile and make people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome (but on purpose in this case).

But I think this is also an example of a more modern redneck stereotype that comes out of some of the rock ‘n roll of the ’90s, where they’re supposed to be slimy and scary but also they’re kind of supposed to be cool. A sort of fetishized mishmash of lower class southerner stereotypes and biker culture, like Rob Zombie or the guy from Ministry try to dress up as. One of them is played by Les Claypool from the band Primus – he also did some of the score (which is pretty good at times, his weird basslines sort of sound like a mutant rock ‘n roll JAWS).

I don’t really get that whole movement but in this case I’m okay with it because it means there is a bunch of four-wheeler driving and some motorcycle stunts. Rednecks and standard necks obviously can’t work side-by-side peacefully for that long, so there is some killing and all the yahoos start driving around whooping and hollering and going off of jumps and looking for them. So it becomes a battle between the hunters, the four-wheelers and the hippie cultists. And at some point the giant pig will show up.

It’s hardly an effects extravaganza, but when they’re there they’re pretty good. Instead of SyFy type cgi they build up the pig mostly with POV shots and then have sort of a puppet/costume thing at the end. There also some very realistic gore effects on a smaller pig that they fight and cut open.

The movie tries to reach for a little more with some political themes. The girlfriend is an artist, so the opening credits are over some Iraq War paintings, kids welcoming American soldiers with candy like a Cheney and the Rumsfeld fantasy world. Before they leave there’s some really noticeable street art in the background showing the notorious hooded figure from the Abu Ghraib photos. Some of the hunters are veterans (but non-combat) and some are fascinated by war stories, they think combat is awesome. Of course, it’s the lower class people that actually see combat, so one of the rednecks turns out to be a veteran. But he’s totally crazy, not exactly a sympathetic portrayal of a troubled soldier.

At the end it even gets heavy-handed enough to take a quote from Animal Farm about humans and pigs being indistinguishable from each other. I don’t know about that, man. Nice try but I don’t think you quite earned that one. I like that they’re including current issues in here, but whatever they’re saying is kind of muddled. (Get it? Mud. Pigs like mud.)

The director is James Isaac, one-time Cronenberg effects guy who also directed THE HORROR SHOW and JASON X. To me this one seems a little more indie than those, like a bunch of Bay Area people hired a Canadian director and went out to some woods together to have a fun time making a giant pig movie. So they kind of throw in a bunch of stuff about war and drugs and cults and not all of it works out exactly but they take advantage of whatever talents their friends have and it’s fairly entertaining to watch.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 1:02 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

17 Responses to “Pig Hunt”

  1. Sounds better than the terrible SKINWALKERS from the same director. Doesn’t seem to be available in Region 2 though…

  2. I’m a wild piiiiiiiiiiig!

  3. Toxic, I’m 90% sure that the movie came out in Germany, which is of course Region 2.

    And yes, SKINWALKERS was terrible. I don’t use this phrase very often, but I think it was one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. (It was also apparently co-written by the star of PSYCH. The one who wasn’t in THE WEST WING. Forgot his name.)

  4. Yes actually, right after I posted that, I did find Region 2 DVDs from Germany and the UK.

    I wouldn’t call SKINWALKERS one of the worst movies I’ve seen, but compared to a good stupid fun movie like JASON X, it was so disappointing, so boring. What a waste of a reasonably good premise.

  5. I can’t think of any redeeming qualities, when I think of SKINWALKERS. The werewolves looked ridiculous (although tried to make them look at least a little bit like the classic Lon Chaney Jr Wolfman), the script was boring, the direction uninspired, most actors were miscast. Usually I find in any movie something that I liked, but SKINWALKERS was underneath a ScyFy channel movie.

  6. I don’t know, I guess having Rhona Mitra in it almost always counts as a redeeming quality to me, and I thought the ridiculous idea of “TERMINATOR 2 with werewolves” had potential in a silly “FRIDAY THE 13TH meets ALIEN” kind of way. But it’s true that the special effects were bad, and that I didn’t really buy Elias Koteas as a badass, and that it was incredibly dull.

  7. I even forgot that Elias Koteas was in it.
    BTW, if you should try to get the German DVD of Pig Hunt, be careful, because the one with the 18 rating is cut. There is also an uncut version, but depending on where you buy it, they probably don’t sell it. So better settle with the UK DVD, I guess.

  8. So, is the UK version that proudly announces “from the director of SKINWALKERS” on the cover the uncut version? Or should I try to find one that specifically has “Uncut Version” on the cover?

  9. Oh and yeah Elias Koteas is the main antagonist in SKINWALKERS. I think he has to be in every other movie filmed in Canada by law or something, kind of like Gérard Depardieu here in France.

  10. Got no idea about the UK version, but I think there is a 98% chance that the one that says “uncut version” really is the uncut version.

  11. That’s the problem: the only UK version I see on Amazon doesn’t say anything, so I don’t know if it’s kosher or not.

  12. Here’s what I wrote about PIG HUNT on another forum –

    What I suspect happened with this one is this: What the writers of this film (and the director, too, I suspect) really wanted to do was tell a story about crazed rednecks, stoned cultists and giant pig gods. They hemmed themselves in, though, thinking the genre required those conventional, normal characters to introduce everything. And that’s why, after forty-five minutes of boring, empty-headedness the film suddenly busts free of itself and starts to rock.

    My point is, If you want to make a movie about crazed rednecks, stoned cultists and giant pig gods, then fucking do it. Don’t pussy around it for half the film until you get to the part you’re actually interested in filming. Fuck convention and tell the story you want. From the start. And I guaran-fuckin-tee the audience will thank you for it. They will also sense if you are anything less than one hundred percent committed to your story. So commit.

  13. I never saw this movie but a girl I went to high school with gets naked in it. There’s a Pig Hunt fun fact.

  14. Shouldn’t you have said then “I saw this movie BECAUSE a girl I went to high school with gets naked in it”?

  15. eh, there are screen caps. Honestly, I was interested in this movie long before I even realized she was in it, but I could never find it in a store and don’t care quite enough to order it.

  16. if anybody is still jonesin for some gigantic, man-eating-boar action, I can safely recommend the recent Korean film CHAWZ.

    Its more on the ‘fun’ horror side of the genre, so much so that it barely tries to be scary. Its more concerned with presenting its take on a blackly comedic remake of Jaws, but with a giant pig in the South Korean countryside instead of a shark on the coast of a touristy town.

    There’s lots of weird little touches that tweak the monster movie genre, but its still a legitimate representitive of it. Its closer to tone to Tremors then say, fellow Korean monster movie ‘The Host’, but its pretty good. The special effects for the pig are pretty great, even if the animation makes it look herky-jerky and ungainly, that’s still probably true to life. You wouldn’t expect a boar the size of an SUV to be all that graceful.

    Its available through Netflix to stream and makes for a good time. If you don’t want to watch yet another giant boar movie (there’s just so damn many these days) at least skip through to the setpiece where the monster first shows up, its pretty awesome.

    that film, once again, is Chawz.

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