Piggy (Movie Review)

Looking for an interesting new Horror filmLook no further than Piggy; a twisted coming-of-age style film that touches on the real horrors of bullying and its effects on both the victims as well as their tormentors.

Initially opening exclusively at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas on Friday, October 7th, on October 14th Piggy sees a broader release in additional theaters, but also via Video-On-Demand thanks to Magnet Releasing.  Under the guise of a Slasher film, Piggy is not your typical tale of revenge where the protagonist exacted their revenge on those that have wronged them. Instead, it is a well-crafted look at discovering yourself while battling your own trauma, longing for acceptance, and redemption. Carlota Pereda’s solo directorial debut, she transformed her 2018 short film into a feature-length film that is as thought-provoking as it is grueling.

Piggy still

It is summertime in rural Spain, Sara (Laura Galan: Cerdita 2018, Unknown Origins 2020) is your typical socially-awkward teen fighting to survive despite the agonizing bullying from her peers. It doesn’t help that she is the daughter of the local butcher, fueling the fire and the relentless torment from the “mean girls” in town. The bullying Sara faces is hard to watch. It’s excruciating, from the abuse from the local teens to the emotional trauma in her own home as her mother (Carmen Machi: Aida series, The Open Door 2016) pushes harmful diet culture onto her under the pretense of “motherly love.” The worst of the bullying happens when these girls decide to pull a prank on Sara at the pool, stealing her clothes and holding her underwater with a net, nearly drowning her. Sara isn’t the only one obviously deeply affected by this as unbeknownst to her, a mysterious man (Richard Holmes: Sky High 2020, Hasta el cielo series) sees this take place and takes matters into his own hands.

Clad in a bikini, feeling exposed in every sense of the word, Sara tries to make her way home. Along the way she discovers the mysterious man, as he stops his van and gets out to give her a towel. This would all be quite comforting except for the fact that Sara realizes Claudia (Irene Ferreiro: Circular mini-series, Skam España series), one of the girl’s that bullied her, is in the back of his van, bloodied and screaming for help. From there, Sara is faced with a decision; speak up about what she knows, or let her tormentors suffer. We spend a lot of time with Sara as she confronts herself and her inner demons. The struggle of your own desires, selfish or otherwise, the need for comfort, and the very human reactions to trauma.

Piggy still

We see Sara’s internal tug-of-war as she is subdued by the weight of her family, society, and threat of real violence. The act of “coming-of-age” is told in the shape of a Thriller, in the way a film like 2000’s Ginger Snaps uses a werewolf story as an allegory for female puberty. The stark contrast of a Horror film being shown in broad daylight with its dark undertones perfectly depicted Pereda’s vision of a gritty realistic horror with traces of a fairy tale.

For a moment, Sara begins to think of the mysterious killer as a pseudo–Prince Charming. He is intense, protective, and is notably kinder to her than the people around her. This false sense of security melts once you along with the protagonist realize that the thing this man is preying on is her weaknesses because he is just that – a predator. He sees her insecurities, her suffering, and ultimately exploits that for his own gain. That realization is what causes the shift into Sara’s growth. The choices Sara makes in the film are arguably poor and frustrating at times, but that is also what makes her human. She is neither good nor bad, she is just simply trying to maneuver this chaotic situation that she has been thrown into. Sara is forced to confront the unsightly parts of herself to gain control of her autonomy and take her power back from others.

Piggy still

Overall, Piggy is terrifying because it showcases the many forms of violence and the real nature of its brutality. Whether it be in the form of bullying, physical violence, or emotional abuse, we have all had to endure these things at some part of our lives. The feeling of being exposed like a raw nerve, vulnerable to your surroundings is a nightmare. At its core, Piggy is a tale of redemption. Sara is forced to decide to break the cycle of violence or let it continue. Pereda creates a film that hands the power back to the victim, a notion that is evident as Sara continues into the film’s final act, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives Piggy 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Magnet Releasing

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