By JAMES TUCKER
Starring: Nathan Jones, Bill Moseley, John Jarratt
Directed by Chris Sun
Written by Chris Sun, Kirsty Dallas
Produced by Slaughter FX, OZPIX entertainment, Universal Pictures
It’s like Shudder read my mind. What self-respecting horror nerd doesn’t want to see a movie about a big fuckoff boar terrorizing a small town and tearing up tourists?
Oh yeah, that’s how we’re opening up this one.
BOAR starts us off meeting the people of a rural community in Australia as strange goings on start… well, going on around town. Sheep start to go missing, fences are being torn down, and the town drunkard (Steve Bisley) swears he saw a massive monster chewing on a woman reported missing to the police. Ken (John Jarratt) and Blue (Roger Ward) are minding their own business, drinking in the bush and thinking about times gone by, when they hear a scream from a nearby campsite. And Bernie, (Nathan Jones) a brick wall of a man who may just be our protagonist, has family from the city come down to visit; his sister Debbie (Simone Buchanan), her husband Bruce (Bill Moseley), her kids and her daughter’s shitheel boyfriend (Hugh Sheridan). All of them think the Boar is a small-town myth, something the drunkard cooked up when he couldn’t tell up from down. But the Boar is about to announce itself, and few will escape alive…
“The Boar is the main character, and we get to see it develop a taste for human blood over the course of the film.”
Animal attack movies always seem to be about man vs. nature, or the idea that while mankind thinks it has evolved to conquer the natural world, nature too is constantly evolving and waiting for the chance to strike back. No explanation is ever given for why this massive Boar is out there, or how it managed to produce offspring (yeah, that’s right), and none is needed; this is a community out on the outskirts of “civilization,” and so it’s vulnerable to a natural counterattack. And this Boar must be really, really mad about fracking and humanity’s part in climate change, because it TEARS ASS. This movie has some of the most abrupt, vicious kills I’ve seen in a creature feature; did you know that Boar tusks can penetrate the human skull? No? Neither did I. Characters get crushed, flung around like ragdoll between its tusks, speared without warning, dragged through the underbrush to certain death; and the way each kill is filmed ensures that each of them is a surprise, shocking you even when you know something must be about to happen. The creature design on the Boar itself is EXCELLENT, with the behemoth looking so diseased and grotesque that you almost wonder how it’s still standing.
Now does this movie have a story? Not really. It almost feels a bit episodic in how we switch from one set of characters’ to another, following them for a short time until they get murdered and then switching to the next group until we have the last ones standing. Surprisingly, however, I still found myself getting attached to these characters; Sun and Dallas have created a likeable, relatable group of characters who demand audience investment, and that makes it all the more cruel when they’re killed off in exceptionally gory ways. The way the movie flipped between them and disposed of them regularly annoyed me at first, until I realized that none of these people are the main character. The main character is the Boar. This is the monster’s movie, and we get to see it change as a character over the course of the film. The ramp up from the Boar killing a dog, to killing one of the locals, to the fucking massacre that results later is believable and very much in line with the tradition of animal attack films that came before; viewers get to see the monster develop a taste for human blood, and that detail alone earns this movie so much credit.
BOAR isn’t a perfect film by any means, but it’s pretty damn good. I’m giving it an 8 out of 10. If you’re looking for a solid creature feature that’s violent but not cheesy, that takes itself seriously even as it has a two-ton man sing “Ice Ice Baby” before he gets rammed by a bigass pig, this is definitely the movie for you.
Next week, we give paranormal horror another try. I won’t spoil what we’re doing though.
Guess you’ve got to tune in and see.