You can imagine my excitement as I finally sat down to watch PIG, the film that Rue Morgue Magazine called (and I’m paraphrasing) the best gore film of 2010. You can also imagine my disappointment after watching it and wondering if I saw the same film that so many websites are praising and gushing over.
I’m confused people; I really am. What the fuck is the big dead with this film? Here’s a quote from Dread Central’s review:
PIG is really tough to sit through. Every time you think that it can’t possibly go any further down the road of depravity, it does, almost as if Mason and company are simply daring you to keep watching. It’s nearly impossible for even the most jaded of viewers to not become just a little bit squeamish here and there.
Really? Are they serious? I found nothing in this film difficult to watch and there was absolutely nothing in it that made me squeamish. But they did get one thing right; it was very tough to sit through (just not in a good way). Let me back up a moment and properly introduce PIG. PIG is directed by Adam Mason and written by Mason and Andrew Howard. PIG was written and shot during an “in between” period as Mason was waiting to make the feature LUSTER (which stars Andrew Howard). Mason made this one completely free of any involvement from any big studios; it was basically a film he made to pass the time while waiting to get the greenlight to do the project he really wanted to do.
The story is a simple one: We follow around some crazy bastard (played by Andrew Howard), we never get a character name, as he teases, torments, and tortures a few people outside his camper in some rural, isolated location. That’s it … end of plot summary. There’s some implied cannibalism, rape, necrophilia, and general torture. I say “implied” because most of the violence is done right off screen where you can see Howard’s character doing something, but can’t see the details … and do I need to mention that this really pissed me off!!?! The AUGUST UNDERGROUND trilogy had the balls to show absolutely everything on screen from the perspective of a very unflinching camera. Here the camera doesn’t ever get a chance to flinch because it never really opens it’s eyes.
What I did appreciate about PIG is that out of it’s 90 minute run time about 70-75 minutes of it was one long take without any edits. Yes this is very gimmicky, but it’s also probably the reason why this one fell flat on it’s face. Everything seemed ad-libbed by the actors and actresses on screen, so the amount of depravity we get is limited by the imaginations of the cast involved. I know that I’m an especially desensitized guy, but there just wasn’t anything here to disturb or sicken anyone. Films like the above-mentioned AUGUST UNDERGROUND trilogy have helped in my desensitization, but I’m telling you that no matter what Rue Morgue Magazine and Dread Central tell you, PIG is not the most disturbing or gory film you’ll ever see. I’m still questioning if we all saw the same flick!!
So what exactly is wrong with PIG? The biggest problem here is that PIG is boring. Yes; boring. That first seemingly endless single shot goes on forever and we get to watch every little thing each character does. I mean EVERY LITTLE THING in minute detail!! I’ve seen people’s home videos that were more engaging than watching Howard’s character walk around and torture his victims. I was reaching for the fast forward button on many occasions just to try and find the exact spot where the movie actually becomes hardcore. It never happened. Add to this a (failed) attempt at a kinda “twist” ending that completely falls flat on it’s face and you have yourself one gigantic suck-fest.
You might remember my review of the 2006 film BROKEN that Adam Mason directed with Simon Boyes (see my review here). I absolutely love BROKEN and thought that was one of the most effective films that helped to define and elevate the torture-porn sub-genre. It was a dark, nihilistic film that didn’t give the viewer even one small glimmer of hope as the main character, appropriately named Hope, tries to survive the tortures of a maniac in order to find out what he did with her daughter. I loved everything about BROKEN. That’s why when I heard Mason directed PIG, and along with all the praise it got, I was so excited. Now I know better. I’m still a huge fan of Adam Mason’s and will see anything he puts out. But PIG is an experiment in boredom (he pretty much made it when he was bored AND bores the audience) that I, and you, can do without. Definitely skip this one.
Director: Adam Mason
Plot: 0 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer