Boar follows an array of characters whose stories intertwine around a massive, diseased killer boar that is wreaking havoc on the Australian countryside.
This is going to come across as harsh, and that admittedly must be how I intend it, but I was surprised to find out this wasn't director Chris Sun's first attempt at filmmaking. Throughout the production it felt like shots lasted too long, took poor angles, and dragged with odd timing. Some of it could also be pinned on the editing, but for a fun script and decent creature effects, I feel like a lot of potential quality was missed because of a lack of skill behind the camera.
Now, of course, I could do no better...but I've seen better. With the lovable John Jarratt on board and a pleasantly surprising expanded role for the perennial action film baddie Nathan Jones, I expected a fun creature feature romp. Now, that is exactly what I got. Boar was a gory good time. But I feel like it could have easily been more than a popcorn flick that you laugh at, and been a cult hit that you laugh with. The film lacks the self-awareness to be funny and the genuine quality to be a solid piece of filmmaking.
Again, I want to emphasize how close Boar was to being a fantastic horror film. It has blood and guts, a good blend of CG and practical effects, and a cast that spends a good chunk of time bantering with Aussie sarcasm that I could've listened to all day. But the uneven and wonky camera work nearly kills all the magic...and at times completely kills it.
I will commend the production crew for its courage at displaying a fully-built practical monster boar. If the thing were stuffed in a museum, you'd think it was a prehistoric monster preserved for all to study. But when it's on film and it's supposed to be moving more than just its awesomely-designed head, it kills everything you worked for. When the camera sits on the board-stiff boar while its head flails about, you lose any sense of realism your mind may have tried to maintain.
The CG budget just needed a tiny bit more investment, and then the need to show the boar's body would've been unnecessary. Despite the effort, it was wasted. The animatronics and puppetry of the head were more than enough to give life to this grotesque monstrosity. Brief glimpses of the full body and the CG in the right light would have carried the morbid magic of the boar further than lazily sitting on the creature for far too long per shot. If the eye is left to study something too long, it quickly fills in the cracks in the artificial construct and loses its imagination. This film bravely set out to trust their creation to the fullest, and it fell through.
Despite this harsh critique, it all stems from frustration of actually enjoying the film quite a bit. I love creature features and monster movies and this one was a great piece to tide me over until Crawl. I loved the cast and thought the uneven script outweighed the corny dialogue with genuine banter. It was just missing a bit more work, perhaps merely in the cutting room, and that disappointment makes an otherwise recommendable film just a little irritating.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10 Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 3/10