Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
Travis Aaron Wade
Howard Johnson Jr.
What's it about
A group of friends head out into the California backwoods for a weekend of pig hunting, and end up on the wrong side of a family of locals, a bizarre hippie commune, and a 3000 LB boar named The Ripper.
Is it good movie?
John, an ex-marine disillusioned from his time in Iraq, leads a carful of his buddies and his girlfriend out to his childhood home in the way backwater of California to hunt pigs. Once out there they pick up two of Johnís old friends as tagalongs, who seem to harbor resentment towards him. By and by they run afoul of some unnaturally large piglets, stumble upon a huge field of marijuana, and infighting leads to murder and a redneck jihad from some of the locals. Attempting to escape that fate leads John and his girl to an emu feather farm run by some hippies with a very strange agenda. And all of this is before they meet the largest, ugliest pig in the history of pigdom.
Pig Hunt exists in the nebulous territory of a movie with a lot of great elements that just canít seem to get them all to meld. I wouldnít say it was a bad movie, but I wouldnít call it good, either. For starters, there are just way too many characters. By necessity of introducing them all and giving them all screen-time they are underwritten, and it strains credulity that such disparate personalities would be willing choose to go off into the wilderness alone together in the first place. Secondly, the film attempts to be a mash-up of Deliverance, Razorback, and The Wicker Man, all while maintaining a vague allegory to the war in Iraq. About halfway through the movie simply crushes under the weight of its own design.
But big kudos to director James Isaac for insisting on real, on set pig effects, which is not surprising seeing how he cut his teeth doing effects for David Cronenberg. The temptation is strong with smaller projects like this to suck at the CGI teat, and a lot of the strength of this movie lies in its visceral, in-camera effects. On a more personal note, I was delighted to see that not only was Les Claypool the music supervisor on the film, but he was actually in it as the patriarch of the redneck clan. And a preacher to boot. If giant pigs, spilled guts, and topless hippie chicks donít do anything for you, you surely canít complain about some Primus action.
Video / Audio
Video: 16x9 widescreen (1.78:1), and the transfer looks good. As I mentioned in the body of the review there was little to no CGI, so the DP could just go ahead and light the actors and sets instead.
Audio: Just the one 5.1 Dolby audio track in English, no subtitles.
Commentary with director Jim Isaac and producer Robert Mailer Anderson: This track is absolutely frenetic, mile a minute trivia and behind the scenes anecdotes, mostly dominated by Anderson, proving to be just as weird and funny as he was in the documentary.
On the Hunt: The Making of Pig Hunt: This 43-minutes doc is as comprehensive and chaotic as the film itself. Definitely all the information you could want about the making of the film, including interviews with all the major players, presented in a haphazard and occasionally bizarre manner.
Boonville Stomp: A typically surreal Les Claypool video for his title song to the film (Boonville being where it is set).
Trailers: As with all the Frightfest films, this disc has a Pig Hunt trailer and a surprisingly slim selection of trailers for other Frightfest films (four in all)
The end result here is that Pig Hunt is a fun movie, but one that just attempts too much to ever find firm footing. The gore is good, there are boobs, and Les Claypool makes sure your ears are going to be happy, but the characters are paper-thin and the constant shift of focus from one evil to another to another is narratively jarring. Itís worth a watch, but check your higher expectations at the door.