Now this is more like it; plenty of weird shit as far as the eye can see. Writers Zack Anderson and Robert Mailer Anderson and director James Isaac are obviously genre geeks—observant viewers will spot references to Alien, Road Warrior, even Apocalypse Now—who understand exactly what elements will best play in Peoria. Blood sure, but even more, carnage. There’s enough carnage in Pig Hunt to fill Carnagie Hall. Yeah, I know.

Rugged guy John (Travis Aaron Wade), his bonfire-hot girlfriend Brooks (Tina Huang), and John’s three dopey dude buddies drive out to, whatever is the California equivalent of Appalachia, to go hunting for wild pigs on property owned by John’s uncle, who perished under mysterious circumstances. (But since the movie is named Pig Hunt, probably not all that mysterious. Look, just play along!) They go through all the familiar check points (or plot points, if you prefer): They stop at a backwoods general store for directions—this one run by blues harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite, who gives them dire warnings—and encounter a clan of indiginous rurals, a rattlesnake, and a van containing a muscular black gentlemen with a hippie-chick entourage, part of a nearby weed-growing commune. Somewhere in here, we discover that John grew up around these parts, and that he’s actually a skilled hunter and woodsman, unlike his three hopelessly doomed friends. Some hillbilly acquaintances of John come a-visiting, and they all decide to go hunting for “the Ripper”, a legendary 3,000 pound killer hog that most likely wasted John’s uncle—and the train goes off the rails, big time.

This sounds like it has all the makings of Troma Team farce, but somehow Pig Hunt avoids broad comedic pitfalls, and plays it somewhat straight. The Andersons actually have the guts to develop the characters beyond stereotype to the point that I actually felt sorry for John’s friend Quincy (Trevor Bullock), a gentle chef who accompanies his more macho comrades. He and his beloved dog Wolfgang come to a bad end that they really didn’t deserve (though, to be fair, Quincy has no more business being outside the urban landscape than Ned Beatty does). Collateral damage, as it turns out.

What the filmmakers demonstrate most effectively in Pig Hunt is that it’s the various human tribes that wreak the most havoc, and that in order to survive, you have to become the biggest monster of all. Hell, the giant pig is almost an afterthought until almost the one-hour point in the film. Bonus: The music is by Primus bassist Les Claypool, who also doubles as Preacher, one of the bloodthirsty hillbillies. I love that shit.

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