Fright Fest 2016 Review #10 – Razorback (1984)

Talk about hamming it up!

Subgenre:  Killer Animal

Summary:  A massive wild boar wreaks havoc in an Australian town.

Review:  After his wife, an animal rights campaigner and newswoman, goes disappearing in Australia, Carl Winters journeys to the outback to get some answers. Though the official story is that she fell down a mineshaft, Carl suspects otherwise – and his suspicions are validated when he comes across hunter Jake Cullen, who claims a massive wild boar is responsible.

As far as the myriad Jaws rip-offs go, Razorback is certainly in the top half.  The Australian setting lends the film a unique flavor, with colorful locals and barren landscapes.  Gregory Harrison is appealing enough as the lead, and Bill Kerr brings a grizzled, half-crazed charm to the role of the hunter with a grudge against the giant beast.  We also get a some truly despicable villains in the form of two thugs trying to cover up the truth of what happened to Carl’s wife.  The cinematography is quite good as well, especially during a dehydration-induced head-trip midway through the movie.

Razorback’s biggest problem is that it simply doesn’t provide enough boar for your buck. There’s nothing wrong with hiding the monster for the majority of the film, but if you’re going to name your film Razorback you’d better deliver.  We get a few glimpses of the boar in the climax, and they actually look pretty good, hinting at its massive scale by showing its ottoman-sized head.  But more often than not the film resorts to cheap shaky-cam workarounds.  It’s too bad, because the man vs. beast finale set in a pet food factory is pretty exciting otherwise.

The Verdict:  Despite its disappointing lack of the titular animal, Razorback is an entertaining killer animal movie.  I give it six porcine predators out of ten.

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