6 April 2019

Review: Pig (2010)

Pig is the experimental brainchild of Cambridge born writer/director Adam Mason (Broken, The Devil's Chair, Blood River), made completely under the radar and streamed via the Internet for a limited release. This is a horror film like nothing you have seen before and seems to have really divided viewers into two camps; those who think it is a brave experiment in unremitting brutality and those that just don't get it. The reasons for this division will become pretty clear once we get to the nitty gritty.

The set up is nothing original taking it's psycho abducting and then torturing his victims premise from countless other genre classics such as Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and more recently Greg McLean's Wolf Creek (2005). Where Pig is stunningly original and challenging is in it's execution - the film essentially consists of one single 79 minute take followed by two brief shorter scenes that deliver a terrific twist ending.

The film opens with a bloodied girl running along a desert road pursued by a truck. Within the first ten minutes she is recaptured, brutally beaten and murdered and the film continues from there with no cuts as the unnamed psycho torments and abuses his other captives until the final ten minutes.

The film is held together by a staggeringly committed and deranged performance by Andrew Howard (The Devil's Chair, Blood River, I Spit On Your Grave). The camera is permanently with him for the full 79 minute take.

Pig has received a lot of criticism from viewers who feel that it lacks a plot, but this really makes it a far more honest piece of filmmaking than the innumerable Hollywood blockbusters that use flimsy narratives as an excuse to string together a number of set pieces. The whole film is a set piece in itself that drops the viewer straight into the horror with no set up or explanation and then gives you no room to breathe for the duration. As a viewer you are challenged to keep watching. This is not an easy film to sit through, even for seasoned fans of extreme cinema.

Pig is a brave experiment in genre filmmaking and the technical skills showcased are impressive. The film looks stunning in terms of visuals and composition, and like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre it's relentless nature fools you into thinking that you have witnessed something far more gruesome than what has been presented onscreen.

If you are feeling brave, give Pig a try. But don't say I didn't warn you.
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