October 19th -- Pig Hunt
There's something to be said for truth in advertising. You watch "Jaws," you get a shark. You watch "Dolls," you get killer dolls. You watch "Pig Hunt," you get...well, what, exactly? Not pigs, necessarily, although there are a few of those. You're just as likely to get murderous rednecks and hippie cults, however, in what amounts to one seriously muddled film. That been said, "Pig Hunt" is quite entertaining and never boring, which must count for something.
A guys-only hunting trip is "ruined" when the girlfriend of one of the bros tags along. The others can't complain too much, however, since they're all headed to the guy's old stomping grounds to stay at his dead uncle's cabin. Along the way, they meet the locals, in the form of a sinister backwoods hillbilly clan (led by Les Claypool, in what amounts to one of my favorite character performances ever...no joke, he steals the movie anytime he's on camera...someone give this guys a proper role!) and a group of weird hippies. They also hear the legend of The Ripper, a killer 3000 pound wild boar. Since the guys are there for boar hunting, they decide to take a shot at the champ. Matters get complicated, however, when they meet up with a couple of the nephew's old "friends," some seriously fucked-up, "Deliverance"-type guys. Suffice to say, things don't go as planned and the group ends up on the run from rednecks, hippies AND a seriously pissed-off giant boar.
As might be noticed from the description, this is a seriously busy film. With no less than three plotlines working at any given point, there's a lot to keep track of in what amounts to a silly B-movie. In particular, the hippie sub-plot (which becomes the main plot, by the end) seems unnecessary and, frankly, kinda dumb. Had we just stuck with a killer pig and (maybe) the rednecks, this would have been a stronger film. The acting is actually pretty good, for the most part, although a few of the group members are more than a little irritating. The biggest revelation, for me, was Claypool. Sure, the guy's playing a pretty broad character but he really makes it work, injecting The Preacher with a hefty dose of actual menace. Anytime he was on-screen, the movie had my undivided attention.
Also of note is the score, composed by Claypool. It's a mixture of more traditional, if distinctly backwoodsy and atmospheric, film scores and Les' own bass-heavy insanity. It always works and imbues the film with a lot more production value than it probably deserves. Props must also go the pig design, which is pretty damn good. It's a physical creation, not CGI, and my old school soul was over the moon. It doesn't get much screen time, unfortunately, but the rest of the film's gore effects (and it does get pretty goddamn gory, trust me) are equally well-done. This actually makes sense, since the director was also on Lucas' special effects team for "Return of the Jedi": this is obviously an effects-guy type of film.
In the end, "Pig Hunt" has just enough berserk energy to carry it through to the finish line. The last 25 minutes are so bat shit insane that I kept wondering if I'd somehow slipped into a fever dream and the final shot makes not one lick of sense. With more focus and a bit more confidence in the killer pig storyline (c'mon guys...you did name the movie "Pig Hunt," after all...shouldn't there be a pig in there?), this would have been a much stronger film. As it stands, I can still recommend it, based on the fun factor and Claypool's badass performance. As far as killer boar movies go, this is no "Razorback," but it'll do, pig...it'll do.