Thursday, October 1, 2020

#2,518. Pig Hunt (2008)

Based on the DVD artwork alone, I went into director James Isaac’s Pig Hunt expecting a creature feature horror film about a giant pig that runs amuck, causing all sorts of chaos. Well, I got that, but I also discovered, fairly quickly, that there was a lot more to this 2008 film than its cover was letting on.

John (Travis Aaron Wade) and his girlfriend Brooks (Tina Huang), along with John’s buddies Ben (Howard Johnson Jr.), Wayne (Rajiv Shah), and Quincy (Trevor Bullock), head to a remote area of the woods to do a little hunting. Setting up camp near a cabin once owned by John's uncle, the group soon encounters the Tibbs brothers, Jake (Jason Foster) and Ricky (Nick Tagas), who invite themselves along on the hunt.

Having practically grown up at his uncle’s cabin, John knows the brothers well enough, and warns his companions how volatile the entire Tibbs family (which resides nearby) can be at times. But when a hunting accident leads to tragedy, John and his friends find themselves in serious hot water.

Throw in the fact that the locals believe a 3,000 pound man-eating hog - nicknamed “The Ripper” - has been roaming the area for years, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Pig Hunt does, indeed, have a creature, and we get a few early indications that this beast is more than a legend. The opening scene features a hunter being torn apart by an unseen animal, and there are several POV shots, from the monster’s perspective, littered throughout the movie.

But Pig Hunt is more than a creature feature. John, the lead character played close to the vest by Travis Aaron Wade, is an experienced hunter and former backwoods yokel who managed to break free of that existence, yet still bears the mental scars of this early lifestyle, including the tragic, unexplained death of the uncle that raised him. We figure out early on (almost at the same time his girlfriend Brooks does) that John is a complex dude, and being back in these woods has stirred something inside of him. If the movie has a weakness it’s that John is ultimately left underexplored. But thanks to Wade’s performance we get a taste of the demons that creep up on his character every once in a while.

In addition, Pig Hunt features a bloody showdown between the main characters and the Tibbs clan (which escalates when Ben does something very, very stupid), and their clashes result in some of the film’s grislier moments (though, on the violence scale, the creature attacks are much bloodier).

Then there’s the hippie commune, home to one man (played by Bryonn Bain) and a bevy of beauties. This seemingly peaceful bunch spends their days growing marijuana and raising emus, though their true reason for being out there might be a little more sinister.

As you can tell, there’s a lot going on in Pig Hunt, and for a time I was a bit concerned that the filmmakers may have bitten off more than they could chew, taking the story in too many directions. Fortunately, director Isaacs and screenwriters Robert & Zack Anderson manage to tie everything together in the end, leading to a finale that is as satisfying as it is insane.

And Pig Hunt is, without a doubt, an insane motion picture, but in a very good way. I had a great time watching it.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (watch it as soon as you can)

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