Just in from Korea, your favorite Catgirl Princess has yet another Killer Pig movie!! What?…. Yet another big pig running amok? Yep. Seems the wild outback spaces of Australia aren’t the only place where giant man eating pigs roam free…. From Korea comes still another tale of “Pork chops gone Wild”…. “Chaw”.
Our synopsis goes just like this here: “Chaw” is a carnivorous horror movie that is set in a peaceful town of Sammae-ri where a human eating boar is discovered there. Ripped body parts are found together with the animal’s footprints by the locals. Former hunter Chun Il Man ( played by Jang Hang Seon) had lost his granddaughter recently and he suspects the boar had eaten her alive.
As the fear is growing in the town, the locals invite famous hunter Baek (played by Yoon Je Moon) to hunt for the boar. Joining him are biologist Su Ryeon (played by Jeong Yu Mi), detective Shin (played by Park Hyeok Kwon) and police officer Kim (played by Eom Tae Woong). Il Man leads the five member boar hunting team when Kim’s mother disappears mysteriously. Can they find the boar and bring Kim’s mother back alive?”
Ooooohhh!! Can the Koreans top the masterpiece of Killer Pig cinema that was “Razorback”? Or will we all find ourselves wishing that we’d never heard of this big ol’ man eating hunk o’ pork? I’m certainly gonna find out… and if you want to know more, well then by all means… “Read On”!!
Well as “Razorback” was able to show us…. pigs are downright mean, nasty, and more than capable of going all crazy ass carnivorous on our butts…. especially if we’re all goofy enough to let them get ridiculously big. This particular effort takes that idea and moves it into the wild mountains of Korea for another go round of “man vs nature”….. (and we all know how man usually fares in that sort of contest…) Given the availability of some nice CG effects and a reasonably good sized budget, I wish I could say the results were a smashing success…. but I really can’t….. and that’s a shame.
The biggest problem with “Chaw” is one of overall tone…. on the one hand, it wants to be “Jaws” with a big killer piggy, but it also seems to want to be a comedy at the same time. The combination isn’t impossible, and many other films have been quite successful mixing laughs with scares…. but somehow “Chaw” …. just… doesn’t…. make it. Many of the comedic bits are complete failures…. and the straight horror elements aren’t strong enough to survive being watered down and ultimately weakened by them.
Another problem is with the characters themselves…. We have our young police officer, Kim, posted to the rural village to do his best “Roy Scheider” imitation and be the guy who motivates the sluggish local cops to save the village…. Nope….Well, then, we’ve got grizzled veteran hunter and mountain man guy, Chun Il-man…. who’s beloved granddaughter gets to be run over by some truckers and then gets tossed away like garbage to become pig food…. certainly he’ll do his best “Capt. Ahab” imitation and go all medieval on mister piggy in a bloody quest for revenge, right?…. Nope….. Then how about Byun Soo-ryun, an intrepid zoologist and “Jane Goodall” wannabe… Certainly she’ll want to do that whole “save the piggy for science” thingee…. Nope…. AAAARRRGHHH!!! Well then how about hot shot hunter and TV star Baek Man-bae and his “reality show” crew of foreign hunters…. certainly they’ll save the day, running through the woods blasting every fuzzy woodland creature in sight and providing us with at least some dramatic tension between Man-bae and his old mentor the grizzled mountaineer, Il-man….. right? Ahhh…. Nope. None of this stuff happens. In fact, most of the characters lack any real motivation or at all…. seeming to be just…. well…. “there”. The all go through the motions, but none of it seems sincere. Sigh….
Basically…. the plot resembles “Jaws” in the notion that the village relies on tourists for it’s livelihood…. In this case, they want to lure stupid urban dwellers out to the country to pretend to “farm” on weekends on rented plots of land cleared in the mountains…. but clearing that land for agriculture has taken away all the wildlife that used to feed the giant boars…. and you know what that means. Oh…. and did I mention that somehow big giant pigs are all the fault of the Japanese army? Huh!?! Say what?….. Yep… seems that during WW2 the occupying Japanese decided to do a little pig breeding to try and come up with juicy meaty piggies…. but only ended up with giant mean pigs that they abandoned into the wilds when they pulled out of Korea…. (No wonder they lost the war with goofy military plans like that…)
Ahhhh…. and the boar…. it’s bullet proof you see…. No, no, no… not just bullet resistant with a constitution like a serial killer that just shrugs off the most horrific of wounds…. your Favorite Catgirl means absolutely, completely bulletproof. Like Superman…. the slugs just flatten out and drop harmlessly to the ground. Police handguns… modern high powered hunting rifles…. none of them so much as scratch the beast. This particular idea is…. well…. just plain stupid. Naturally the only way to kill such a beast is…. (wait for it….) dropping a big pile of rocks on it. Yep… that’s the plan….. although eventually they settle for an elevator at a deserted factory… or mine… or whatever the heck that big abandoned industrial sight in the middle of nowhere is.
The boar itself… well, the CG does let the film have a more visible monster… and it really gets seen quite a bit once things get going, but unfortunately this actually works against the film…. “Razorback” inadvertently managed to create much more tension and up the scares by hardly showing their boar… (which they really couldn’t do, given the primitive state of animatronics in 1987…). “Chaw” lessens the impact of their creature by showing it to you far too often and ultimately that reduces the “fright factor” considerably.
Overall… your Favorite Catgirl was disappointed with this one…. so I can only give “Chaw” 3 Mediocre “Meows” out of 5….. It wasn’t particularly scary…. It wasn’t particularly funny…. and I couldn’t come to like or dislike any of the characters enough to really become invested in the story…. Big pigs can be scary… but I’m gonna re-watch “Razorback” next time I want my “Killer Pig” fix….. Too bad. It had a promising set-up in with a built in audience of “when animals attack” fans that were probably ready for some goofy horror fun…. Oh, well. Better luck next time…
Trailer? Would Neko ever leave you without one?… Nawwww!! Here it is! All the pork and half the fat!