"In the Outback, no one can hear you squeal..."
Destroyed property, missing livestock and reports of people disappearing lead the locals to question just what could be causing all of the damage. Unbeknownst to them, a giant wild boar has decided to claim the area as its territory and anything in it is a potential meal.
Harking back to an earlier decade of Ozsploitation, Boar is the spiritual successor to 80s giant pig flick Razorback, a decent creature feature from 1984 which had a lot of heart but also a lot of problems. Over thirty years later, and Boar suffers from the same fifty-fifty syndrome, though this one does a much better job of making its premise – that there’s a giant killer pig on the loose – play out a lot more terrifyingly. It might sound a ridiculous premise on paper but if you've ever seen a nature documentary about wild boars, you'll know how vicious and aggressive they can get. Multiply their size tenfold and suddenly you have a big problem.
If you’ve seen one creature feature film, then you’ve seen the vast majority of them as they all run like clockwork. Much like the similarly unchanging slasher flick, there’s not a lot of leverage to play with the formula and so Boar sticks to the straight and easy route, making sure that ticks the relevant boxes without ever really stamping it’s mark down. The problem with Boar is that there’s no real story to the carnage – the characters all end up going out into the Outback and are attacked/killed in a series of scenes barely linked together with a simple narrative. The film spends time with a pair of characters, only to kill them off ruthlessly after about ten to fifteen minutes. Introduce another couple of characters, have them engage with each briefly and then feed them to the boar. It’s more or less a rinse-and-repeat cycle which gets boring after a while. Characters who survive longer against the boar are given little more characterisation than those who die almost instantly. Almost all of the scenes involving the patrons at the local bar could have been taken out with no harm done to the plot at all as they serve no purpose whatsoever except to pad out the running time.
This type of film depends largely on the titular creatures and how effective they look and portray the menace that they’re meant to. Boar features an acceptable mix of practical and CGI special effects. The practical effects look really good, especially during the night attacks, with a large boar head and plenty of blood and mangled corpses thrown around for good measure. Short, close-up glimpses are made of the boar for the first half of the film before the monster is unleashed more during the second half. The animatronic head used for attack close-ups looks good but isn’t very mobile, though this is nit-picking as I’m a massive fan of realistic practical effects, even if they are slightly jerky. I was surprised to find out that there was a big puppet, operated by a man inside, which was used for some scenes. The CGI is used more sparingly than I had anticipated and works better for it, with a few weaker effects evident during a few of the quicker attack and charging sequences. There are plenty of characters for the boar to work through, though sometimes less is better and the sheer number of victims within close proximity around the middle section of the film take away some of the gloss.
Genre veteran Bill Moseley gets the top credit and doesn’t play the bad guy for a change, instead being saddled with a generic straight-talking stepfather role which gives him little opportunity to showcase why they probably cast him in the first place. It is very much a ‘keep it in-house’ type of cast with a slew of Australian actors scattered around the film: John Jarratt (Wolf Creek), Ernie Dingo (Crocodile Dundee), Steve Bisley and Roger Ward (Mad Max) plus a few obligatory actors who’ve been in Neighbours or Home and Away, and Chris Haywood who also starred in Razorback. Unfortunately, the script writers seem fit to have the majority of the Australian actors say ‘bloody’ and ‘mate’ literally every other word. Stick a few shrimps on the barbie whilst you’re at it, eh? You couldn’t play upon the Aussie stereotypes any more than this film does.
Ex-WWE wrestler Nathan Jones steals the show as the friendly giant cousin, playing a role totally the opposite of the villain/heavy roles he’s frequently cast in. He’s a monster of a man and goes toe-to-toe with the boar in arguably the film’s standout scene. He’s not given much more screen time than anyone else in the film but makes the most of his camera appearances by firing his character up with a psychotic energy. Between him and Jarratt, they're the only two real characters of substance that audiences can try and associate with.
As far as creature feature films go, Boar succeeds mostly in delivering what it sets out to do – provide some silly spectacle and a lot of gore and tusk action. The lack of a real story and bunch of thinly-written characters doesn’t allow for the action, gore and special effects to gel together in the way it should have done had the script been worked on a little more. Still a better cut of pork than most swine-centred horror flicks.
Director(s): Chris Sun
Writer(s): Kirsty Dallas (story editor), Chris Sun
Actor(s): John Jarratt, Simone Buchanan, Melissa Tkautz, Bill Moseley, Nathan Jones, Hugh Sheridan, Roger Ward, Ricci Guarnaccio
Duration: 96 mins