There’s always something tantalising about a killer with no motive and no conscience. A creature that possesses such irrefutable bloodlust that it rampages through an environment with no second thought and no explanation proceeding it. Whether it’s a sadistic serial killer or a monster croc, these vicious delights makes for an engaging cinematic experience. This time around, we’ve got ourselves a rabid Boar on the loose.
Turning the Australian bush into an even more savage landscape than before, this stacked and chunky fella is tearing through campsites and rolling plains like there’s no tomorrow, and seriously disrupting one family’s holiday to their uncle’s farm in the process.
With a cast stacked with Aussie (and one American) genre legends this outback riot follows a few loose threads of individuals within the Boar’s radius. First up is the Monroe family; headed by Bruce (Bill Moseley, Texas Chainsaw 2’s Chop-Top and The Devil’s Reject’s Otis), they are in the area to visit his wife Debbie’s big (and I mean 6’11 big) brother Bernie (Nathan Jones, Mad Max Fury Road). There are also local geezers Ken (John Jarratt, Wolf Creek) and Bob (Steve Bisley, Mad Max) who are out on a bit of a lads’ weekend, getting pissed in the bush and shooting whatever comes across their path. Finally, there are a handful of once-happy campers that come to an unfortunate ending with our killer pig and end up torn limb from limb that put the coming days of savagery into motion.
Director Chris Sun doesn’t mess about with character pleasantries and arcs in his creature feature and tries to get down to it as quick as possible, fully exploiting the gigantic animatronic Boar built for the film to get every inch of it on the screen. Sure, its movements are clunky at times, which many practical effects can be, but the humour laden throughout the film compliments it well – and I’m sorry, but if you’re coming into a creature feature expecting high levels of class and sophistication you’ve come to the wrong place anyway. Impaled flesh, severed limbs, Chelsea smiles and tusk shots galore covet every second they get on screen with a sense of bloody delight.
As much as the monster takes up the screen, there is still plenty of time for several of its actors to shine. There will never be a time when John Jarratt won’t be welcomed with open arms onto my television screen, and his old married couple banter with Steve Bisley is a light comic relief. Boar’s standout however is Nathan Jones as the lovable Bernie; introduced frolicking in a pen of lambs and eventually squaring up to a knife fight with a killer pig than outstands even him, Jones has all the makings of a cult genre star. Every shot of him picking up another person as if they weigh no more than a feather is completely hilarious, and it never tires.
Given Jones’ borderline over-the-top performance I can’t help but wish that the film was MORE ridiculous. Chris Sun teeters on a tightrope bridging serious and silly, never completely succumbing to one or the other. Thankfully in the final act the film does give itself over to complete ridiculousness thanks to Jones’ action hero stunt work against the beast, but its ending feels rushed and unsatisfying. Multiple characters, especially Ken’s barkeeper daughter and her patrons are criminally underused in the finale despite their enjoyable playful banter shown previously.
Boar is nothing more and nothing less than what it says on the tin: a gruesome creature feature that’s as Australian as it gets.
Boar is available to stream exclusively on Shudder US and Canada on June 6th.
by Chloe Leeson
Chloe Leeson is the founder of Screen Queens. She hails from the north of England (the proper north that people think is actually Scotland but isn’t). Her lifesource is Harmony Korine’s 90s Letterman interviews and Ezra Miller’s jawline. She is a costume designer for hire who spends way too much time watching bad horror movies. Her favourite films are Into The Wild, Lords of Dogtown, Stand by Me and Pan’s Labyrinth. She rants about cinema screenings @kawaiigoff and logs them on letterboxd here