They make them big in Australia. Giant sharks. Crocodiles. Spiders. Former WWA World Heavyweight Champion Nathan Jones. The rugged wilderness of Australia has birthed a number of fantastic “Animal Attack” movies like The Reef, Rogue, Bait, Razorback. In some ways, Australia as presented in movies feels like The Wild West…except everything that comes out of it is big. Oh. And they have better accents. Trust, if someone talks to me with an Australian accent, I will probably melt in a puddle in front of them. Especially if they look like Hugh Sheridan in this latest Aussie export.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I am that weak. I mean…
Oh wait. Sorry. The movie. Murderous animals. This time we have another giant boar attacking hapless people in The Outback. Writer/Director Chris Sun’s Boar announces itself the way any good killer animal movie should. It’s night and a solitary jeep trudges down a desolate road. After it swerves to miss an animal, the couple inside realizes that a bunch of wild boars are fleeing something. Before you know it, we are in Boar Vision as the creature charges the jeep, hitting it with a force so crazy it knocks us to the title card.
After this cold open, we’re introduced to a blended family on their way to visit a relative in The Outback. There’s the Aussie mom Debbie (Simone Buchanan), the American step father Bruce (Bill Moseley), Debbie’s kids Ella (Christie-Lee Britten) and Bart (Griffin Walsh), and Ella’s hot jerk of a boyfriend Robert (Hugh Sheridan…mentioned above). The relative they are off to see is Debbie’s brother Bernie (Nathan Jones), a monstrous beast of a man that when he’s introduced you just know he’s going to wrestle the boar.
We’re also introduced to a host of side characters who round out the cast, including Ken (Wolf Creek’s own John Jarratt) and his pal Blue (Roger Ward), and Ken’s daughter Sasha (Melissa Tkautz), who owns a local bar and doesn’t take shit from her drunk patrons. Eventually, they all come in contact with the monstrous boar for a bloody romp across the wilds of Australia.
The biggest problem with Boar is one of pacing. While we’re quickly introduced to Debbie’s family, the narrative just as quickly drops them in favor of focusing on the rest of the characters. There’s a very large chunk of the beginning of the movie where I even forgot that we were originally following this family and their pilgrimage to see Bernie. Instead, we spend the beginning of the movie following the locals in the area and watching them get dispatched one after another.
On the positive note, this means we get to spend a large amount of time with John Jarratt who, I would hazard a guess, improvised most of his dialogue with Roger Ward’s Blue. It’s filled with Australian slang, curse words and affection; they come across as an old married couple and provide most of the film’s humor. The problem though is that the beginning builds up a nice sense of tension with the locals before squandering it by re-introducing the family, where it builds again.
The titular boar, though, looks fantastic when they use practical effects. It’s a monstrous creature that is slowly introduced in quick snippets and closeups. Overall, the practical effects are charming and deliciously gory; the digital ones, less so. And the boar operates much like an 80s slasher. It’s stealthy AF and explodes on the scene with some fun jump scares.
Overall I enjoyed this blast from the past, mostly practical-effects driven monster movie. Sometimes, you want to see something artful and thematically strong. Other times, you want to see a man’s leg get wrapped in barbed wire before being dragged, screaming into the dark by a giant boar.
And, for both, Shudder has you covered.
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