Thursday, June 06, 2019

Boar: The Year of the Pig on Shudder

It’s the Year of the Pig again, but horror movie producers are weirdly tardy on capitalizing. What, do they want us to watch Pig Hunt all year? At least Shudder finally stepped up to the plate. Logically, they acquired a new-ish killer pig movie from Australia, the country that proudly brought us Razorback. The pork will do all the feeding when Chris Sun’s Boar premieres today on Shudder.

There is a killer boar out there preying on travelers who stray too far into the Australian Outback. What’s not to get? In this case, some significant Australian genre specialists will pop up to serve as snacks. There is no missing huge Nathan Jones, who played the freakish Leatherface-esque slasher killer in Sun’s Charlie’s Farm, but this time around, he gets to be the hero: meathead farmer Bernie. He will be hosting his city slicker sister Debbie, her second husband Bruce, daughter Ellie and boring son Bart, as well as Ellie’s jerky boyfriend, who is keen to join the family. He will take the fam to see some of Oz’s wonderful natural sights, but at Debbie’s insistence, he only brings one gun. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

John Jarratt, best known as the vicious Mick Taylor in the Wolf Creek franchise, gets to play a decent feller this time around as old blokey Ken, who is simultaneously rattling around the big pig’s feeding grounds with his old crony Blue. Horror veteran Bill Moseley also effectively plays against type as the immensely likable Bruce. For his part, Jones shows he could have a credible future as muscle-laden genre protagonists. Chris Haywood, who appeared in the old school 80s Razorback, memorably drops in to portray the silly old codger who saw the big boar, but his warnings went in vain, due to his being a drunken bumkin. However, Melissa Tkautz steals multiple scenes as Ken’s sarcastic pub-keeper daughter.

Boar is far from a perfect film, but the pig attacks are surprisingly fast and brutal. Honestly, the bloodthirsty beast looks and sounds deadly in the extreme. You have to give Sun and the effects team credit, because the boar feeding sequences are shockingly intense. Unfortunately, the characterization is a little thin and much of the dialogue is flatter and more wooden than plywood panels. Of course, this is a horror movie about rampaging swine, so that is almost to be expected.

So, lets all eat a big plate of ham and bacon today, for the sake of public safety. Pig Hunt remains the gold standard of monster pig movies, but at least Boar is far superior to the manipulative and disingenuous Okja. It is straight-up exploitation throwback, but that is really the whole charm of it all. Recommended for retro animal horror fans, Boar starts streaming today (6/6) on Shudder.