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Adam Mason's "Pig" premiered free to all tonight, on bloody-disgusting,
dreadcentral, and Twitchfilm. Mason was responsible for the mind-f*ck
of a film "The Devil's Chair." as well as "Blood River." To call this a
film would be liberal usage of the word. It's more of an experiment in
the technical side of film making. There is no narrative, no character
development, and honestly no purpose to the film. The bulk of the
movie(70 minutes) was filmed in one take. If you explain this to the
average movie goer, not only will they not care, but they most likely
won't even know what you're talking about.
Now that I've explained that this isn't really a movie, but more of a talent showcase, let's delve into what worked for me. Knowing I was viewing one continuous take blew my mind for most of the film. The cinematography is nothing short of amazing after consuming that fact. Even more impressive is how they allow for F/X gags to be set up while the camera is running. A quick re-frame of the shot, allows for the off-screen crew to quickly set up the special effects. Some of the tricks used here were absolutely brilliant. Setting the kill in the bed of a pick-up truck, allows for them to make a quick cut to a wide-shot, while someone crawls on their belly, setting up the effects for the kill.
This isn't a movie to be enjoyed. In fact, I wouldn't recommend viewing this film to anyone unless they are not only an aspiring film maker, but interested in film making as an art form. It's hard to watch, and not because of the subject matter. While our main character prepares his "meal" the camera lingers on him, with his captive struggling in the background. This goes on for what seems like forever. A lot of the time, it made me feel like I was stoned. I knew something should be going on on the screen, but I felt so disoriented that I couldn't tell if I was missing something, or if that was just the way the movie made me feel. The acting is decent, considering there's not much coherent dialog, and that this is mostly happening in real time. The setting is believable, all-be-it a little bland. The music gets a tad annoying, with the same song being played in the back ground over and over.
If you're interested in becoming a film maker, and marvel at the technical aspects of a film, you may want to endure this experiment. You'll definitely be in for something original. But please, don't go into the flick expecting an enjoyable movie, because aside from marveling at the talent behind the camera, there's nothing to like here. Watch if you dare, and remember you've been warned.
A hypnotic headmashing experiment in single camera nastiness, PIG certainly lived up to and also confounded my expectations. I was expecting a standard redneck slasher film, which in essence it is, but the totally unhinged performances and the atmosphere of inescapable dread really hooked me in, and made me feel I needed a shower after it was over. Extremely technically impressive, almost completely improvised, and bringing to mind other experimental fare like the August Underground series, PIG is practically a video diary of murder, degradation, and crack-smoking madness. As unsettlingly brilliant as Andrew Howard's performance is, a few moments of pitch-black humour dot the proceedings, adding an interesting edge to an otherwise fairly archetypal character. The music can get slightly tiresome, I'd have liked to see it with no score at all except the radio excerpts. It's certainly a slog, but an admirable and affecting one.
PIG is not a movie you're likely to put on for the family after a big
Christmas lunch, but as an exercise in unrelenting brutality it's
certainly worth checking out for any fan of extreme cinema.
Even at only a little longer than an hour PIG seems a bit too padded. If this was a 60-minute MASTERS OF HORROR episode it would have easily been the best one, but a certain numbness sets in to the viewer around 45-minutes in after such a protracted exhibition of frenzy, brutality and madness.
Technically the film's much-ballyhooed 'single take' technique is certainly daring. And the performances are committed, if not always entirely successful in some instances.
All-in-all this isn't a perfect film. But Adam Mason and his team have gone and done a left-of-field experiment in grueling extremity. And for a vast majority of its run time it most certainly succeeds.
Let's get things straight right away, PIG is a deeply unpleasant and
offensive film not just in a grotesque visual manner but as an
endurance test of cinematic tolerance for the viewer. In its simplest
terms PIG is a 90 minute snapshot into the life of a brutally deviant
trailer trash serial killer little to no dialogue, the most minimal
of plot structure but for the mature horror film fan a deeply
gratifying film experience.
In the lead role Andrew Howard manages to maintain a believable level of depraved intensity with even the odd moment that looks like his own psyche is being deranged by the role he's portraying whilst his shadow 'retard' sister adds to the visual and aural assault on viewers.
Don't be under any illusion, PIG is a challenging film experience and most definitely not one for a mainstream multiplex film fan - well the film (welcomingly) has no moral value whatsoever and is pure 1980's vintage video nasty fare, reminiscent of the final 'family dinner' reel of Texas Chainsaw Massacre but with PIG kicking in from the opening scene and rolling with that intensity throughout the entire film (which in itself might be testing for even some horror fans but for this old genre buff was a welcome challenge to behold).
Filmmaker Adam Mason has proved yet again that he's one of the finest talents from the Britsploitation scene, with PIG he's produced a film that's part old school classic exploitation cinema (James Ferman era BBFC would have positively imploded on viewing this one, be under no doubts this would have been banned outright back in the day) and part challenging modern improv horror theatre.
Destined to become a horror film festival favourite excellent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pig is the kind of movie that you put on when you have buddies over to
see them squirm and mutter obscenities under their breath. This is not
a movie to be 'liked.' The movie is an hour and a half of pure
brutality. As the film progresses, the twisted mind of the male lead
becomes more and more apparent, as his mentally disabled 'wife' is
introduced, as well as multiple other things he does to his prisoners.
The effects are amazing, considering they were all done on-the-spot, just out of frame. The gore, for what it's worth, looks great.
Words cannot do this movie justice. If you think you can stomach the unabridged carnage this movie portrays, please do yourself a favor and watch it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Synopsis: a psycho and his retarded, pregnant sister abduct, torture,
kill, and eat people for kicks.
Pig has quite rightly received kudos for it's bravura improvisational performances, its no-holds barred extreme content, and director Adam Mason's bold approach (which must have required meticulous planning and impeccable timing, particularly for what must surely be the longest single shot in cinema history); however, alongside this praise, criticism has also been levelled at the film for being a laborious, drawn out and ultimately pointless project devoid of a plot.
Not really fair, says I....
Admittedly, for most of the running time, Pig appears to be nothing more than a catalogue of gut-wrenching atrocitiesrape, murder, torture, dismemberment, and cannibalismall shown in unflinching detail for the delectation of its gore-hungry audience, and it is true that matters become rather tedious at times, but Mason has a trick up his sleeve: a sucker-punch of an ending that made me re-assess all that had gone before...
Having given it some thought, I now believe the film to be a well executed metaphor for the whole extreme horror movie experience, with Andrew Howard's psycho nut-job representing the viewer, who happily wallows in violence and absolute depravity for an hour and a half before casually assuming a more socially acceptable persona and returning to the normality of everyday life. Mason is holding up a mirror to his audience and revealing to us the dark side of our very own naturethe deviant part of our psyche that, like the film's killer (well, maybe not EXACTLY like the killer), we may even keep hidden from our nearest and dearest.
I really, really did try to like this movie. I really wanted to enjoy
this as sheer brutality, something that simply tried to be as vulgar as
rating systems would allow. There's just. No. Plot. It's just a bad
movie, plain and simple. Sure, it's got all the earmarks of a pretty,
technically well-made film, but if you don't have that kind of film
school background, it's nothing but torture porn, and within the first
5 minutes, you realize that it's not even torture porn: just sexist,
reprehensible and filth. I'm fine with a good bit of Saw or Devil's
Rejects fun, but when you're just beating the sh*t out of women for a
good hour and a half, it's not fun anymore.
What a damn shame.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's been said in other reviews, but I'll try to put my spin on the
whole PIG experience. Make no mistake, it IS an experience and
definitely not for the soft hearted.
First of all, Howard's performance was nothing short of superb. He carries the film with an insanity that is both hard to watch and tough to turn away from. I also feel that not enough has been said about Black's performance. She plays deftly around Howard and does it disturbingly well.
Almost the whole film is done in a real time constant, which was definitely brave of both the filmmakers and the cast. They do it exceedingly well and since the film does not look away, it makes it very tough for the audience to be able to look away. The feel of the movie (and it's been said in other reviews) is a continuous dread of what might come next and therefore keeps attention even during the "slow" parts. You never know when the characters are going to suddenly be set off.
PIG is visceral, brutal, brilliant, disturbing and worth the watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Mason's latest film, "Pig", which he wrote, produced and directed,
Mason has ventured into unchartered territory with both his filming
technique as well as with his content. More on that subject later.
"Pig is not for the faint of heart, and has been described as gruesome, brutal, unsettling, violent, savage and a despicable experience. The film was shot completely in secret from fans and followers alike, and stars frequent Mason collaborator Andrew Howard, as an lunatic leading a family of psychopaths who inflict unspeakable evils on a group of hapless, captured victims" And that perfectly sums this film up. At first, this may sound like yet another "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" rip-off, but it most assuredly is nothing of the kind. Mason takes the theme of the crazed group of people abducting and torturing innocents that we first became familiar with in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and takes it to an all new, and extremely disturbing level!
Where "Chainsaw" had the look and feel of a documentary, "Pig" gives the viewer the sense that they are actually there, face to face with these maniacs, as they commit their atrocities. And these heinous acts are far more evil, twisted and sadistic than anything that the Sawyer family ever even dreamed of committing.
Welsh actor Andrew Howard (who you can next see in the remake, yes, another remake, of the classic exploitation film, "I Spit On Your Grave".), who stars as the lead character, (Note: none of the characters in this film, with one exception, have been given a specific name, however Howard's character refers to himself as "Daddy" often) is terrifyingly fantastic in the role. Watching him in action in this film truly feels like you are watching an authentic madman at work. Howard commits these horrendously violent and sadistic acts on his victims with such glee and a childlike joy that it is truly hard to watch at times, yet you find yourself unable to look away.
Getting back to the previously mentioned innovative factor to this film, the first hour and 26 minutes (as I counted) "Pig" is filmed in one take (A take is a single continuous recorded performance), with the remainder of the 1 hour and 34 minute film being comprised of multiple takes. This means that the actors (especially Howard who is on scene throughout most of the film) were able to continue filming without any mistakes, breaks,etc, for the entire hour and 26 minutes. A very innovative and impressive feat. It's hard enough to imagine a filmmaker, his actors and entire crew, being able to shoot such a long take without any errors or accidents, and given the fact that this is such a brutal and chaotic film, it is all the more unfathomable. Much respect is due to Mason, Howard and the entire production crew for being able to pull this off so perfectly.
Horror is meant to horrify. To disgust. To repulse. With "Pig", Adam Mason has delivered on all counts. The film is shocking from start to finish. With an ending that is guaranteed to be 100% unpredictable!
I was unaware of the work of English filmmaker Adam Mason before this
movie and although this film was at times dull, the technical bravado
does lift it out of the horror doldrums. Mason has in effect set up a
single-shot movie, bookended by a chase intro and a blackly comic coda.
Shot entirely on DV, with colours that are almost hallucinogenic in
their shimmering, sun-drenched sumptuousness, the film is a free-form
technically sophisticated piece of horror.
However it is this free-form structure of the work that is also its crippling weakness. After a relatively taut opening fifteen minutes that features some unremittingly grim physical violence and torture, made even more unsettling by the quirky authenticity of the roving digital camera, the movie settles down into the kind of tried and tested 'gross- out' elements that have been with the horror genre since the mid-60's. The introduction of a retarded pregnant woman (either an earlier victim, or some kind of feral woman-child) sees the hitherto chilling and brutal violence descend into a kind of show and tell grotesquerie reminiscent of Man Bites Dog.
The gleefully horrific opening, with its almost formless butchery and sadism (the gutting, the cleaning, the torture, the aftershave, the asthma treatment) set a suitably nightmarish and unhinged tone. As the movie progresses however, the lack of narrative proves problematic with the film revealing much more of its tricksy nature and becoming evermore repetitive and boring. The central character's obsessions with cleaning, consumption of fine wine, use of an asthma inhaler and carefully packaged equipment will point-up to the attentive viewer the final plot- reversal, but this ending ultimately is a failed destination not necessarily worth journeying toward.
Andrew Howard puts in a robust performance in the only clearly visible role. Frequently his character seems to be enjoying himself all too much, whilst the ending is effectively a psychological neutraliser (much like the Hostel franchise). The initial encounter with Howard's supposedly homicidal hillbilly is authentically terrifying and repulsive, but like the film quickly deteriorates into panto-style preening (half the point) and banal cliché.
Throughout the movie there is a relentless audio assault from a chauvinistic radio call-in, the queasily unsettling surf-rockabilly soundtrack and the garbled screams and howls that constitute the majority of the dialogue track. Much of the movie's most effective moments revolve around the repeated refrain of "I'm going to break you down", which prefaces the next round of repugnant humiliations. It's a fairly stylish horror, visually arresting and formally intriguing, but with all of the usual plot faults that make modern horror cinema frequently unrewarding.
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