Quirky monster movie that's not The Host, but still a lot of fun
CHAW is a South Korean monster movie that attempts to ride the wave of popularity that followed the similarly-themed THE HOST; while it can't hope to hold a candle to that outstanding film, it proves to be an entertaining enough comic yarn that offers more genuine laughs than most. It occupies a specific niche of Asian movies whose quirkiness alone is enough to give them instant cult appeal.
The story is a simple enough effort about a giant wild boar terrorising a rural community. There's all the usual hypocrisy amongst the police officers and detectives responsible for the village's safety, along with an outsider hero through whose eyes we witness the proceedings. The plot isn't dissimilar to the Aussie flick RAZORBACK, with various oddballs joining together to beard the beast in its lair – although, of course, it doesn't go entirely to plan.
Monster flicks like this live or die on the strength of their titular menace, and Chaw himself is a good 'un; a very well animated (with a mix of animatronics and CGI, it seems to me) and truly gigantic creature who chews on his victims in a series of grisly death scenes. The action follows the usual template, building up to big attacks and the final search-and-destroy mission, and it's all handled with relative aplomb.
The film goes for the humorous note throughout and it works; there's enough meat on the bones of the story to make it an enjoyable outing, even for those who've watched a dozen similar films. The acting is typically strong from the Korean performers, and director Shin Jeong-won clearly knows what he's doing.
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