Sunday, October 17, 2010
After being generally pleased with Dark House, I was interested to see if the other movies in this year’s Fangoria Frightfest series held up also. Maybe I’m getting soft, or I’ve been so pummeled by the amateurish movies I’ve watched, but I was pleasantly surprised by the 2008 film Pig Hunt as well. It isn’t high art, but I had a good enough time with it.
Four friends from San Francisco (and one girlfriend) go on a hunting trip in rural northern California, looking for wild boar, on some property one of them inherited from a dead uncle. This seems a bit improbable, as no one in the group, with the exception of the legatee, knows anything about hunting, but I suppose people do stupid things. Once they reach the hunting grounds, they run into some rednecks (Who speak with Southern accents, of course, despite the NoCal location. This is universal, for some reason, and I guess if you made a movie set in rural China, the characters would speak Cantonese with an Arkansas twang.) who tell them stories of the Ripper, a giant man-killing hog, and join their hunting party, despite deep animosity between them and the former local, who seems to be an old friend and possibly a relative.
The hunt goes badly (What do you expect?) when they run into some murderous hippies using the area for growing marijuana (northern California is the center of illegal marijuana production in the United States), and one of the friends kills one of the rednecks. Soon the city-slickers are on the run from both the hillbillies and the flower children, who seem to worship Hawgzilla as a God.
The characters, for the most part, are the sort who are so blindly stupid you can’t understand how they’ve lived as long as they have. All the hunters get drunk and/or stoned before the hunt, which is not the greatest of ideas, and are pretty casual about accidentally pointing loaded guns at each other. (The scene where the lead goes to investigate a noise in the bush while everyone else points their guns at his back is unintentionally funny.) They are also the type who absolutely cannot keep their mouths shut. Contrary to popular belief, animals are not deaf, and can hear people talking in loud voices. This also comes into play when the crew is trying to hide from human pursuers, and can’t stop with the OH MY GOD I HOPE THEY DON’T FIND US dialogue. Stay quiet, and stay still and you might live. You’ve also got to wonder about someone who brings his pet dog on a wild boar hunt, which I can’t imagine someone doing unless they really hate their dog.
You might also scratch your head about just how vicious hippies would be after spending all their time smoking incredibly potent weed, but hey, maybe it’s a variety Mary Louise Parker doesn’t sell.
For all that, I thought the movie wasn’t half bad. The acting was pretty good; although there was no one in the cast I recognized other than Primus bassist Les Claypool, who also did the music. The direction was more than adequate, and the script was solid if you buy into the basic concept. There are in-jokes about other movies in the dialogue, including a sly one concerning the under-rated movie Southern Comfort, if I’m reading the saucier comment right.
In the making-of feature, the director and writer talk about the movie being a metaphor for our desire to kill, the war in Iraq, religious extremism, etc., but I think you can ignore that. It’s a movie about people on the run from murderous rednecks, killer hippies, and a giant hog, and it should content itself with that. People who are squeamish about animals getting hurt and killed might have a few problems with it.
If the basic premise interests you, pop some popcorn, put your feet up, place your brain in “Idle” and put in this DVD. You could do worse than go on the Pig Hunt.