Monday, November 14, 2011

Pig Hunt (2008)

Pigs are far out, man

Combining aspects of "Deliverance" with backwoods folks and a sense of adventure, along with "Razorback" and a setting with a life of its own and a legendary creature hiding in the midst, "Pig Hunt" produces a mishmash of genres that's more fun than completely serious with a hippie cult that's both prone to Zen and violence thrown in for good measure.

A man with the fitting name of John Hickman heads out to his late uncle's ranch in the sticks with his girlfriend and three other friends from the city for a hunting weekend. Their first stop is the general store that leads them to the legend of the Ripper--a supposed 3000lb pig--as well as a confrontation with a muscled, sword-wielding guy who looks like an ancient warrior walked into the wrong movie or thought he was at a convention for "Xena: Warrior Princess." The area isn't known for its steady employment, so a share of the dwellings look run down and lived in by dirty, grumpy rednecks who use the local forest for perfecting their aim at the animals.

They tentatively team up with John's two old childhood friends who've since took the path of drugs, alcohol, cruelty, perversion and good ol' hunting in between to everyone else's discomfort. There's a share of posturing with each person thinking they're the best to the point of a who-can-puff-out-their-chest-the-biggest contest rather than who can actually shot the straightest. There's a building tension in the air that could burst at any moment that's both annoying with no one but John and possibly his girlfriend Brooks, who's proving she's got the stuff, to lean on with a backbone. But it still proves to be somewhat engaging as to who or what could set off the balance thinly held together by condescending remarks. Soon enough the boars are called, someone gets injured, human remains and marijuana crops are found, and then ulterior motives come into play. The characters go separate paths and it turns over to a human on human blood sport on someone else's turf. Though there's a third party lying in wait that makes the local degenerates in town look a few steps closer to normal.

The third act feels a little underrealized but still comes as a surprise and carries some mystery about how, where and why. Though it's most likely for the best because the more it's thought about the less it makes logical sense. Some of the transitions and editing have places of awkwardness but a share of events flow from one heated aspect to the next. There's some subtext attempted with John and a past in Iraq but then it's dropped to keep it more in light of exploitation. "Pig Hunt" is not a movie that causes the brain to kick in but hits enough surface sensations to keep the popcorn moving from bowl to mouth without pause unless it's a choke or a what-in-the-heck remark. The quicker pacing doesn't give time to scratch beneath the surface but a number of in-the-now events happen to keep one's attention locked and focused with surprises and a share of uncomfortableness about being so far from home and encountering unwelcoming people that seem like from another place and time. Like "Razorback," the wild boar is shown the least amount while the human characters are developed more till they meet up. Les Claypool, the frontman from the band Primus, layed down the music and played a smaller part as a "preacher" who lets his gun do all of his sermons. The soundtrack is a mixup of almost genreless music apart from itself with unconventional and discordant layers and an almost boondocks feel with an acoustic and gibberish twang.

This is more of an offbeat adventure-thriller than an outright horror, but that doesn't stop it from including point blank injuries and a share of gory wounds anywhere from knees busted in to eyes gouged out. "Pig Hunt" is no doubt an out there story that's about as unlikely to happen than being held hostage by a group of clowns robbing a donut shop with flamethrowers, but this is never short of something bizarrely humorous or to leave one ill at ease, not to mention some individual characters with their own personality to remember, while others can be forgotten but were most likely there to up the body count which us blood-thirsty viewers crave.

Rating: 7/10

Director: James Isaac (The Horror Show, Jason X, Skinwalkers)
Stars: Travis Aaron Wade, Tina Huang, Howard Johnson Jr., Rajiv Shah, Jason Foster, Nick Tagas, Bryonn Bain
Link: IMDB

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