24th August 2018 (FrightFest UK Premiere)
In the harsh, yet beautiful Australian outback lives a beast, an animal of staggering size, with a ruthless, driving need for blood and destruction. It cares for none, defends its territory with brutal force, and kills with a raw, animalistic savagery unlike any have seen before.
Nathan Jones, Bill Moseley, John Jarratt
If you were asked to suggest an intimidating animal, a wild boar probably wouldn’t be your first choice.
Australian director Chris Sun (Charlie’s Farm, Daddy’s Little Girl) attempts to change that though in Boar, a ferocious creature feature whose stellar practical effects, high body count and a fantastic performance by a World famous Aussie strongman go a long way towards overlooking its shortcomings.
Boar‘s premise is simple: a beast of staggering size is terrorizing an outback town and defending its territory by mercilessly slaughtering anyone who sees gets in its way.
The films character focus is the Monroe family, who have returned to the area after several years to try and reconnect with old friends and a relative, the unbelievably muscular but perfectly harmless Uncle Bernie. Before long, the paths of the Monroes, Bernie, and the Boar inevitably cross and their holiday becomes an impossible fight for survival.
Along with the Monroes, there’s Ken (John Jarratt, better known as the maniacal Mick Taylor from the Wolf Creek franchise) and Blue (Roger Ward, another Aussie screen favourite, as seen in Mad Max as Fifi) who provide some comic relief with their typical, drier-than-the-outback banter. Their scenes are real highlights of Boar, especially one in which they see the creature for the first time after moving from their campfire.
Speaking of seeing the titular beast for the first time, the films practical effects are mightily impressive. Having a physical version constructed does the feature a world of good, as it makes the threat more believable, but its limitations due to its low budget are noticeable. For example, we very rarely see any more than the gargantuan head and, as fantastic as it is, the stricken victims of Boar do nothing more than writhe around underneath its face as they hold onto the tusks.
The film’s exceptional practical effects work against it too when any CGI comes into play. These scenes, mostly occurring towards the end of the picture as the Boar is shown to be in motion by running, again remind us of its relative minuscule funding and are rather poor in comparison.
Boar‘s structure could have done with some finetuning too. For an extended period, the Monroe’s are off screen and seemingly forgotten about. They aren’t a particularly interesting bunch, other than their bizarrely open dialogue with each other where they talk about oral sex with their children’s partner as well as parental snogging and the fact one of them is Bill Moseley (Devils Rejects) , but given that they’re supposed to be at the forefront of the people to care about they’re absent for a curiously long time.
Fortunately, Uncle Bernie (played by bodybuilder Nathan Jones) is the savior of protagonists. He’s a kindhearted soul but doesn’t think twice to use force when it comes to protecting the ones he loves. So naturally, Bernie and the Boar (which I think would make a much more apt title) square off at one point in one of the films more memorable scenes. The aforementioned problems with the creature only showing its head still persist, but Jones works it like a champ and brings out an enjoyably over the top brawl with the massive pig.
There are a few other notable encounters between human and Boar too, one such occasion where the tusks are put to great use as impalers. But it’s the practical effects and wildly entertaining performances from an imposing Jones and the two elderly hunters which make Boar a creature feature worth squealing all the way home about.
Boar will receive a Home Entertainment release in early 2019, courtesy of FrightFest Presents.
Nathan Jones is fantastic as the muscular, kindhearted hero
The practical effects are sublime
Structure and pacing issues
CGI is choppy and noticeable due to excellent practical effects