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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Pig Hunt
Pig Hunt
Other // Unrated // September 28, 2010
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Bill Gibron | posted July 9, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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The Product:
Man vs. Nature - the ultimate evolutionary contest. Just because we walk on two legs and have a larger brain capacity doesn't mean we are necessarily superior to our four footed friends - or foes, for that matter. Indeed, the denizens of the wild love to constantly remind us of our place along the actual food chain - the one that doesn't involve weapons, ammunition, finely honed steel, or a beer keg overflowing with cajones. Without said trappings, it's a less than fair fight. When the hunter does eventually find himself captured by the game, it's often situated inside a horror or thriller genre dynamic. That's where something like Pig Hunt comes in. Unlike it's brethren in boo, this ominous oinker on the prowl has a lot more going for it than tusks and torso-tearing splatter. In fact, it has so much additional fear froufrou going on within its otherwise simple 'creatures going killer' ideals that, by the time it's over, you're not quite sure which category the results rest in - and that's not necessarily a good thing.

The Plot:
When buddies John, Ben, Quincy and Wayne, head out into the Northern California woods to go wild boar hunting, things don't pan out quite as planned. First, the "all bros, no hos" mandate is violated when John brings his babe Brooks along. Then, the gang runs into a divergent set of weirdoes as they get closer to their camp. They include a maniacal African American hippy brandishing a machete the size of a Buick, a "you're all doomed" war vet convenience store owner, and a bunch of filthy, inbred country bumpkins, a couple of which used to be John's childhood pals. Eventually, we learn of The Ripper, a supposedly 3000 pound super pig who stalks the region. The hippy hopes to protect it. The rednecks want it as a trophy. And John is out to find it in some bizarre act of revenge for his dead uncle. Eventually, things go from hunting to hunted as the monster starts stalking its new prey. But that's not the only threat in these woods - not by a crazed cult cousin kissing pot growing long shot.

The DVD:
If stealing from other films was a crime, Pig Hunt would be guilty of numerous cinematic felonies. At any given time this strange indie offering reminds you of Jaws, Grizzly, The Descent, Prophecy, Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Most Dangerous Game, '70s drive-in exploitation, and about a dozen variations on the scare theme. It also offers up its own weird of plot logic, crazed character development, anti-war sentiments, and 'support our troops' tenants. Clearly, the mangled minds behind this psycho stew (screenwriters Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson) have done their horror homework. They get maximum returns out of their often suspects references and then sprinkle their own demented dew all over it. Sure, at almost 110 minutes it's way too long, and we sometimes get so sidetracked with the ancillary subplots and side stories that we miss out on more monster boar mania, but thanks to the capable skills of director James Isaac (The Horror Show, Jason X) what could have been crappy comes across as wild and weird. You may not always understand the motivations of the players on display, but once the insanity starts simmering, you'll happily go along for the pig poking party.

Let's face it - any movie that offers up redneck revenge, lesbian monster pork cults, a wussed out wannabe chef, and a score by Les Claypool isn't striking with a full six pack. But Isaac makes the most of the material, turning what should be debatable into something believable. Pig Hunt definitely functions under its own perverted reasoning. The band of military brothers come from San Francisco. The minute they get to the most Northern part of the state, things turn into a hillbilly rapist hoedown. Who knew there were more murderous sons of the soil in No Cal than in all the Appalachians combined? Even better, Isaac handles the sequences of foreboding with an expert hand. When John walks into his late uncle's cabin and finds it littered with the leftovers from the Sawyer family garage sale, the dimly lit domicile comes alive with menace. Sure, we can barely tolerate the chaw-spitting stupidity of the good old boys who used to be our hero's childhood chums, and someone needs to tell Trevor Bullock that there's a fine line between being a whiner and a worthless waste of motion picture space. Still, like the competent director he is, Isaac constantly finds a way to save the film - even from itself. Sadly, he's not always 100% successful.

That's because Pig Hunt doesn't really have the guts to go "full boar", to borrow a phrase. The Deliverance angle is all lip service, and the arrival of the black hippy shaman and his massive...knife blade seems superfluous and disconnected - even after the twist ending reveal. Early on, an environmental subplot is offered, but it is quickly scuttled and the military material seems tossed in to give the characters something to rally around/rail against. Had we simply followed four friends into the woods and watched them battle a giant deformed pig, action scenes sizzling with a combination of splatter and energy, Pig Hunt would be decent. By turning it into a cracked kaleidoscope of Hells-a-poppin' homages, you're forced to take the often very good with the frequently rather stupid. As a unique reinterpretation of dozens of different sources, Pig Hunt succeeds by measurable miles. It can certainly grate on your nerves and underwhelm when it should really soar, but in the end, it's a serviceable, certifiably bugnuts fright flick experience. Go in with an open mind and you'll come out happy - not horrified, but at least happy.

The Video:
As per this critic's policy, Screener copies of DVDs are not awarded points for video or audio. If Lightning Media does send a final product version of Pig Hunt to the site, this paragraph will be updated accordingly.

The Audio:
As per this critic's policy, Screener copies of DVDs are not awarded points for video or audio. If Lightning Media does send a final product version of Pig Hunt to the site, this paragraph will be updated accordingly.

The Extras:
This Screener copy of Pig Hunt only contained the movie. No bonus features. If Lightning Media does send a final product version of Pig Hunt to the site, this paragraph will be updated accordingly.

Final Thoughts:
There is a lot to like about Pig Hunt. The performances are excellent, the plot twists inventive, and the overall look of the film is polished and professional. Still, it's more of an easy triple than a true horror home run. As a result, an otherwise Highly Recommended release gets a bounce backward. The screener-only situation also hurts the final score. That's why Pig Hunt ends up with a rating of Recommended. Perhaps, in the light of a tricked out DVD package, things will look a little better. On the other hand, there's no denying that James Isaac and company have come up with something wholly original. True, it's been gleaned from a myriad of motion picture sources, but for the most part, the resulting recipe is plenty palatable. Just don't indulge too deeply, or you might wind up with horror movie heartburn.

Want more Gibron Goodness? Come to Bill's TINSEL TORN REBORN Blog (Updated Frequently) and Enjoy! Click Here

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