Pig Hunt (2008)

“There’s a lot of crazy shit in these woods”, Ricky the redneck utters, and I cannot disagree. Pig Hunt is totally insane, but in an excellent way. Violent, witty, pacy, a little confused but lovingly crafted, it is hard not to enjoy the carnage-filled madness on display. This is great, brutal entertainment.

John is going hunting with his city-dwelling buddies and his girlfriend, heading back to an old cabin he used to share with his now-deceased uncle. Looking to slay The Ripper, a mythical three-thousand pound pig that haunts the woods of California, they embark on a mission into the wilderness and instantly regret their decision.

When John’s hunting party manages to kill a “piglet” the size of an adult boar, they rip it open and discover human remains in its stomach. Only then do they realize the rumours are true, and they’re horribly ill-prepared to face The Ripper. Drop in the discovery a of monster marijuana field, a vengeful band of Mad Max inspired hillbilly psychos, some stupid splitting up and a naked-breasted commune of completely bonkers drug traffickers and John’s little hunting trip turns quickly into a hellish nightmare.

The script is well crafted by newcomers the Anderson brothers (“John, next time you want a wildlife adventure, let’s just fuck in the bushes in Golden Gate Park”), and despite having a plot that is an amalgamation of a thousand other ideas it’s definitely not impaired because of this. Although the focus rests on eliminating the biggest pig in the world, the plot weaves everywhere and anywhere from this, until the final act when eventually The Ripper makes his massive showcase.

Normally the appearance of the “unseen enemy” is a terrifying prospect for most horrors, as films such as Ginger Snaps, Razorback and Dog Soldiers can testify that by revealing all it can sometimes be detrimental to the film. Luckily director James Isaac learnt his trade working on films such as Gremlins, The Fly and Return of the Jedi (yep, he was a creature technician on the 1983 classic), so when the eagerly anticipated Ripper does lumber into view it’s actually very impressive: a humungous monstrosity of teeth, blood and flaring nostrils that’s actually there. There’s no CGI nonsense, just a giant ugly pig-beast with tusks the size of a man’s arm. A great reveal.

The only problem with Pig Hunt is the amount of notable characters who weave in and out of the plot, with some just literally never being seen again. The most apparent are two ridiculous nymphets, scantily clad and sporting a sickle and a large knife, who disappear after the discovery of their decapitated horse. This is the case with a couple of prominent characters too, whose presumed off-screen deaths seem out of place and a little bewildering. The editing is confused in places, stumbling from scene to scene without many establishing shots to fully understand exactly where you are. These are small issues, however, but noticeably frustrating – it’s just lucky the rest of the film is so finely crafted.

Pig Hunt is wonderfully inventive, visually arresting and completely mental in a lot of good ways. It has a beautiful amount of detail: the penis-sporting teddy bear riding a car bonnet and the hick gas station weather report that reads “light today, dark tonight” are two examples of how much love has gone into creating a solid, believable environment that is totally immersive. The film is also surprisingly sexy in places, but incredibly vicious, brutal, sickening and upsetting with it.

Pig Hunt is a grotesque, amusing, horribly nightmarish cavalcade of madness and violence and quick wit. Although it is confused in places, overall it is brilliant fun.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

10 Comments on “Pig Hunt”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    The two ‘nymphets’ are actually the girls from the van near the beginning and are there again at the commune. Maybe you didn’t recognise them without their clothes on? :P It still doesn’t explain what they were doing on their own in the woods, knowing that there was a giant man-eating pig out there….

    I loved this movie though, it’s so mental. It was about 3 or 4 different films rolled into one but still worked somehow. Also, Les Claypool’s soundtrack was a bit good too :)

    • The Scullion says:

      THAT’S who they were! I momentarily thought that, but then wondered why they’d given up their VW Camper for a horse, and instead of going to the commune via the normal road, thought they’d go for a wander in the woods. Luckily, the film was so insane it didn’t matter.

      Fun stuff!

  2. Sarah Law says:

    Maybe they were high as kites and it all made perfect sense to them?! Who knows, like you say, it didn’t detract from the fun at all! :)

  3. rtz56 says:

    What exactly is this thing called FrightFest that Fangoria magazine is doing?
    I heard that this film, and a couple others are part of this voting contest. Apparently, the winner gets a trip to Las Vegas. It sounds interesting.

    • Aaron Gillott says:

      Okay, I just looked this up: In Association with Lightning Media & Blockbuster, Fangoria are having a “mini film festival” of 8 films (among which is “Pig Hunt”), and the aim is that people will vote on the one they liked the most and that film will win a theatrical release. At the same time, everyone who votes will be automatically entered into a sweepstake to win a trip to Las Vegas and some other prizes. For more details, terms & conditions etc. I’d suggest checking out http://www.fangoriafrightfest.com

      From the Fangoria website:

      This summer, FANGORIA—in partnership with feature film, television and DVD distributor Lightning Media and Blockbuster—will begin a unique, multi-tiered film distribution program called FANGORIA FrightFest. This exclusive series will consist of eight new feature films, including PIG HUNT, FRAGILE, GRIMM LOVE, DARK HOUSE, HUNGER, ROAD KILL, THE HAUNTING and THE TOMB.

      In addition, via the new http://www.FangoriaFrightFest.com website (launching tomorrow, May 11), fans will be able to see Fango film trailers and other special features, and vote (from June 22 through July 19) on which one of the FANGORIA Frightfest movies will win a big-screen theatrical release in late July. Participants who vote at FangoriaFrightFest.com will also be automatically entered in a sweepstakes to win a free trip to Las Vegas and other special prizes.

      Each Fango film will be available through Blockbuster stores and Blockbuster By Mail, as well as digitally via Blockbuster On Demand for a full 45 days before they are available for purchase or rental through other national home entertainment providers. In addition, your local Blockbuster will sport a dedicated space for the FANGORIA FrightFest promotion.

      The entire film series will also be previewed in a 30-minute special, 8 FANGORIA FRIGHTS (available free on Time Warner, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon FIOS and other cable systems; check with your provider), hosted by CABIN FEVER star Cerina Vincent and featuring interviews with many of the eight films’ directors, clips and featurettes. 8 FANGORIA FRIGHTS will be available continuously beginning June 21 and can be found by accessing your On Demand menu.

      FANGORIA will soon announce release plans for the films for DVD, VOD and digital download. So stay tuned!

      Commented Rich Goldberg, co-president of Lightning Entertainment Group, “The FANGORIA FrightFest lineup represents a diversified lineup of quality genre entertainment, ranging from supernatural chillers to psychological horror and slasher flicks. We want to embrace horror fans of every demographic. And Lightning Media wants to offer producers an alternative, multi-platform delivery system that provides greater awareness and accessibility to reach their audiences.”

      “Having a contest to win a theatrical release is a great idea,” says PIG HUNT director Jim Isaac. “Not only will it create some buzz around the sweepstakes, but it will support a film that might not otherwise receive a theatrical release during a time where very few independent films are getting a shot at one. It’s very exciting. Unless you have tons of money to throw at marketing these days—which nobody does—it’s important to think outside the box when trying to get a film in theaters, and that’s what Lightning Media and FANGORIA are doing. It great to see companies trying something different.”

      “I think the contest to win a theatrical release this summer is the ultimate in horror-fan empowerment,” adds DARK HOUSE helmer Darin Scott. “It’s a great and exciting idea that brings the fans the film they most want to see. In an era when most horror fans feel the studios are totally not listening to them and don’t care how they feel, it’s a tremendous breath of fresh air.”

  4. moviefreak11 says:

    I voted on Fangoria but Dark House won! I definitely wanted Pig Hunt to win! I plan to check it out when it comes to Blockbuster in September!

    • duds says:

      The DVD’s are actually going to be available this friday (Aug 6th I Just checked) at both Blockbuster and Netflix. I already added all 8 to my que.

  5. Horror Hunter says:

    The hippie girls are out in the forest tending their marijuana, though the bud garden isn’t shown until later. And one of the first two girls shows up again in the van at the store, in the hot springs with all the other naked hippie chicks (including her headless horse partner), and then baiting a guy in the woods to his death by ghurka blade, and then is blasted by a Magnum herself…

    • The Scullion says:

      I get a solid Zero for observation!

      I think because they were so “generic hippie” and seemed to have no discernable reason for existing, I just presumed they were massively random! My bad.

      Great film, mind, and that’s what matters. Bonkers, hilariously violent fun.

  6. CoolWeath says:

    Yeah saw Pig Hunt South by Southwest. I’m ready for an encore presentation when it drops Sept. 28th on DVD. I want to see Dark House too just because it won the Frightfest competition.

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