Studio: Pig Pictures
Director: Adam Mason
Writer: Adam Mason, Andrew Howard
Producer: Adam Mason, Andrew Howard, Patrick Ewald, Eric M. Breiman, Michael J. Sarna
Stars: Andrew Howard, Guy Burnet, Lorry O’Toole, Molly Black, Juliet Quintin-Archard
A demented psychopath and his mentally handicapped companion torture and kill a collection of captives on an isolated ranch.
What happens when all of the atmosphere, artistry, personality, and entertainment is sucked out of a Rob Zombie film, leaving behind only redneck depravity and visceral brutality? You end up with something like Adam Mason’s “Pig,” a rambling exercise in senseless shock value whose predetermined purpose is to be a meaningless movie.
Andrew Howard stars as a deranged psychopath in a bloodstained wife-beater whose isolated desert campsite is populated by prisoners. With a semi-feral, pregnant companion he refers to as “retarded” by his side, Howard’s lunatic rapes, mutilates, desecrates, and cannibalizes his captives over an odious hour and a half that is more torturous for the viewer than it is for the victims.
“Pig” doesn’t study a character. “Pig” doesn’t have a plot. “Pig” doesn’t even have a point. The chief challenge isn’t to confront controversial material or conceptions of what constitutes taboo terror. It is to stay remotely engaged in anything occurring onscreen.
“Pig” originally released online for free in 2010, proving the adage, you get what you pay for. Director Adam Mason supposedly threw the experimental project together for no money with the intent of proving how easy it could be to release a film to the wild. Plus, no distributor interested in maintaining a commercial business would want to come within a million miles of such an unmarketable movie. The cost of a customer service call center to handle refund requests would be astronomical.
Returning to the festival circuit in 2017 with the ‘Thank God’ subtitle “The Final Screenings,” the film’s official listing touts “Pig” as “a savage satire of gender politics in America.” What a crock. It’s an absolute bill of goods to sell a woman being peed on, raped by a man in a dress, and force-fed internal organs from another victim as “a virtuoso piece of pure cinema.”
As if visual content isn’t obnoxious enough, Howard’s female sidekick is played like a drunken dolphin doing karaoke at the top of its lungs. Her incessant squeals combined with bizarre bongo beats on a soundtrack accented by chimes from grandma’s porch ensure “Pig” offends the ears as much as it does the eyes.
Audio is additionally garbled by being recorded at too high of a volume. It hardly matters since almost all of the dialogue is inconsequential gibberish, grunts, and groaning. Besides, you’re probably better off not having to hear lines like, “I never stuck a screwdriver up no one’s ass before!” Gee, how lucky are we to bear witness to such a momentous milestone?
Absolving filmmaker Adam Mason of having committed a cinematic crime is his admission that the joke may be on anyone who thinks “Pig” qualifies as bold, daring, edgy, visionary, boundary-pushing, or any other term mistakenly applied to a movie that considers a reverse end credits scroll to be avant garde. In a 2015 interview with Movie Ramblings, Mason explains, “I was sick of the horror world at the time … sick of what I saw as a perverse kind of titillation dressed up as entertainment and aimed purely at pigs … I decided to make a film squarely from the point of view of a pig, aimed at pigs who … revel in watching violence, especially sexual violence against women … The radio stuff was to reinforce the blatant misogyny of the character and anyone who could actually sit through that sh*t.” I still don’t see a point, but mission accomplished, I guess?
Films feature stories. Films inspire thought. Films examine people, ideas, or social issues. “Pig” does nothing. It’s intelligence-insulting trash built to be as insufferable as possible. And it is.
One star out of ten is charity to acknowledge the choreography required to pull off the illusion of “Pig” looking largely like it was shot in a single take. At least the film isn’t a completely careless turkey shoot on a technical level.
In the above interview about “Pig,” Adam Mason adds, “Andrew and I have been thinking about destroying (the only existing copy) … the only thing stopping us is the fact no one would care.” The only truer words spoken are Mason’s remark, “I wish I hadn’t made it…” That makes two of us.
Review Score: 10