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Chaw

Year: 2009
Production Co: Polygon Entertainment
Director: Jeong-won Shin
Writer: Wonsuk Chin

When I interviewed Russell Mulcahy for a feature on horror movies a few years back I was very excited to be able to ask him about one of my favourite movies, Razorback.

He was quite up front about the Bob McCarron-built animatronic pig in saying it didn't work anything like they wanted it to, and how nowadays they'd have a few longs shots of the CGI pig running through the desert or cannery. It might have been a bit more modern, but a lot of the An American Werewolf in London -style charm would have been lost.

Razorback is obviously the first film you think of when you sit down to watch Chaw – even the DVD cover acknowledges it, and because the lorry-sized, man-eating, titular wild pigs are all CGI, it is indeed missing the visceral charm of the pre-CG era.

But director Jeong-won Shin manages to wrangle a robust presence anyway with the particular flavour of slapstick-inspired Korean filmmaking. Even in a human tragedy such as Chaw or Haeundae the Koreans have a particular taste for goofy characters who pratfall and bumble their way through the film – like the cops in the opening five minutes who all trip and roll down the hill after discovering the first body.

It's essentially the same story as Alligator, Godzilla and any other creature feature). A freakishly sized wild boar (or two) are on the loose in the forested hills above town and as the bodies pile up, the cops resort to increasingly desperate means, including bringing in a cool-as-ice game hunter and his posse.

Humour, horror and a few cool glimpses of a well-designed albeit video-gamey monster.

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