Pig Hunt (2008)
Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Travis Aaron Wade, Tina Huang, Howard Johnson, Jr., Rajiv Shah, Les Claypool
Directed by Jim Isaac
We thought we were lucky to get to see the world premiere of Jim Isaac’s Pig Hunt at this year’s Fantasia, but sadly I think our luck had run out. The film still had its world premiere, of course, but the only kind of luck that led us to suffer through its bloated running time was bad.
Pig Hunt follows a group of friends (we have to assume they are friends since they endlessly ball bust one another) as they head out for what’s supposed to be a guys-only hunting trip. But Jack (Wade) decides his super hot, attitude-ridden Asian girlfriend is coming with, and since it’s his uncle’s place, he can bring whomever he wants.
I only point this out because this plot element is what allows a thick misogynistic thread to run through the film, which for the most part seems immature, especially since most of it comes from the stereotypical black friend, who seems to think he’s tough and street smart but just comes across as annoying. In a good monster movie he’d have been the first obnoxious friend to die.
Anyway, they get to the uncle’s ranch to find it vandalized and in a dilapidated state of disrepair. Apparently Jack’s uncle spent his final years on Earth as a raging alcoholic and pissed off more than a few locals, but then considering the closest neighbor is a family of inbred, black-toothed hillbillies (the patriarch of which is former Primus frontman Les Claypool), one wonders what transgression he committed to get on their bad side.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, they’re out in the woods to hunt pigs, specifically wanting to track down the legendary Ripper, a 3,000-pound black boar that is said to be the prize trophy. The main reason I forgot this is because the freakin’ thing is barely in the movie at all, only showing up in the final reel in fact, aside from some weak off-screen bloodless killings that kick off the film. The dialogue is more or less terrible and groan-inducing, the relationship between all the characters never comes across as genuine on pretty much any level, and there is just absolutely nothing going on for easily the first half of Pig Hunt.
When the aforementioned hick family sets out to get their revenge after one of the city boys murders one of their own, things almost get interesting. When the hunters cross paths with a commune of hippies, all of which are hot women led by a very large black man with a wicked knife, things almost begin to take a turn for the interesting as well. Notice I say almost because Pig Hunt is so insufferably long that any momentum it ever starts to gain is negated with scenes that go on anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes too long, so I was never able to be interested for long.
But if the slow pacing and cringe-inducing acting aren’t enough to turn you off Pig Hunt, surely the fact that Isaac and crew didn’t have any idea what kind of movie they wanted to make will. You think, based on the title and the few opening shots, you’re going to be witnessing a fun, no holds barred nature gone amok film. Instead you’re watching a many holds barred film about the dynamic between a set of characters you can’t bring yourself to care anything about, which isn’t even interspersed with shots of Ripper taking down random forest critters to make things interesting. Every fifteen minutes or so the tone of the film changes slightly, which, to some I spoke with after the screening, was apparently part of its charm but to me stank of filmmakers who could never decide what kind of film they wanted to create so just threw everything in the pot, stirred it up, and hoped it came out tasty. It didn’t.
I’ve not seen many Sci-Fi Channel movies of the week (starring Dean Cain), but I’ve edited enough of Foy’s reviews of them to know the earmarks of one when I see it. So don’t be surprised if we report in a few months that the Sci-Fi Channel will be the first time you get to see the movie, all right? The only good thing that would come of that is that the filmmakers would be forced to trim it down from its current 107-minute run time in order for it to work on television, which might actually make it better. Though I doubt it.
I soon found out after Pig Hunt debuted that I was among a minority of haters for the film so who knows, maybe Evil Andy (also a hater) and I just didn’t get the subtle complexities of the filmmaking style. Maybe we’re just bitter film critics. Or maybe Pig Hunt is just a bore. Pun intended.
1/2 out of 5