‘When animals attack’ is its own subgenre in horror. Sometimes these movies fall under the larger umbrella of eco-horror. Other times they’re just movies about big animals gorging on stupid humans. In the 1970’s, Jaws spawned a series of knock-off’s from Grizzly, Tentacles, and Orca. Two decades later, the 1990’s gave us deadly spiders in Arachnophobia and killer snakes in Anaconda. And don’t forget about Snakes on a Plane. Not to be outdone, Australia has its share of dangerous critters. If you haven’t’ seen Rogue, you’ve missed out. Though it’s not a remake of Ozploitation flick, Razorback, Chris Sun’s latest, Boar, re-visits the idea of a giant, man-eating … well, boar.
Debbie and new American husband, Bruce, have come home to Australia to visit her brother, Bernie. Along with her teen son and adult daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend, the family enjoys the rugged beauty of the Outback. But they’re not alone. Wandering the bush and desert, a massive, blood-thirsty boar viciously defends its territory against intruders. And now Debbie’s family have crossed the deadly animal’s path.
Boar Delivers On Exactly What It Promises
If you’re watching a movie called Boar, about a giant killer boar, there’s certain things you expect. Unless you’re new to the genre, you’re like not expecting ‘elevated horror’. Don’t go into Boar for subtext or pointed social commentary. Though Boar doesn’t fully embrace its silly concept, say like a Sharknado movie, it’s a pretty straightforward movie. That is, director Chris Sun knows the audience wants bloody goring and he more than obliges.
Sun puts those massive tusks to good use …
In this regard, Boar is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Sun keeps things moving at a quick pace. Rather than drag the proceedings down with needless exposition or explanation, Boar is as relentless as its titular monster. In fact, Boar often works more like a good, old-fashioned slasher. Characters randomly turn up to ensure a decent body count. Initially, Sun does what these movies usually do – he keeps his monster in the shadows. But that doesn’t last long. Soon Boar coasts from scene to scene of brutal maulings captured in all their gory glory. Sun puts those massive tusks to good use as the giant boar impales its victims. Never dull, Boar delivers on its expectations.
Better Than Expected Special Effects a Pleasant Surprise
Given its silly premise, you could accuse Boar of taking itself a little too seriously. There are a few self-deprecating scenes, like when giant former wrestler-turned-actor Nathan Jones sings along to Vanilla Ice. But for the most part, Boar plays it pretty straight. Fortunately, the movie’s special effects lend it some credibility. If you’re watching Boar for gory animal-on-human violence, the effects are much better than expected. A few full shots of the boar are a little weak. There’s also some obvious CGI effects here and there. Nevertheless, Boar never looks cheap or rushed.
Boar Treats Its Cast As Largely Disposable
Where Boar loses some points is its almost random approach to story and character. Several veteran horror alumni turn up in the movie, so there’s some talent on the screen. Both John Jarratt (Wolf Creek) and Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) know their way around a horror movie. Sun puts ‘big man’ Nathan Jones to good use. Even the younger performers exceed what you’d expect to find n this sort of movie.
This creates a little unpredictability, but it does so at the expense of cohesive-feeling story.
Yet in pursuit of its body count, Boar often feels random and unfocused. Specifically, Boar’s story doesn’t follow a single thread. Though you expect the family to be the movie’s emotional core, Boar sets these characters to the side for chunks of time. And when Sun puts his attention on other characters, it gives the expectation that eventually all these story threads will intersect. Except they never do. This creates a little unpredictability, but it does so at the expense of cohesive-feeling story. Of course, we’re talking about a movie about a giant, killer boar so audiences may not mind.
Boar is a Fun ‘Killer Animal’ Romp in the Outback
Maybe it was the lowered expectations, but Boar was an absolutely fun ‘killer animal’ horror movie. Well-paced, impressive creature effects, and plenty of convincing gore, Boar gives you exactly what you want out of this sort of movie. Things feel like they end a little abruptly – it’s all rather anti-climatic. And maybe Sun softens his ending a little too much. But Boar is still worth a trip to the Outback.