Boar Film Review

Monster Fest 2017 Opening Night Film Review: ‘Boar’

Boar’s gore is as bloody as its banter is brilliant.

During the Q&A after the film, one the stars, Aussie horror legend John Jarratt (Wolf Creek) remarked on how much he loved the dialogue in Chris Sun’s Boar. Too often in horror movies, he said, the dialogue is so bad that you simply wait for the characters’ heads to get cut off.

Boar fortunately gives its audience the best of both worlds. An early scene cleverly alludes to the strength and sheer size of the titular murderous animal with a rocking van and two unfortunate horror movie fodder victims, and after that we’re in the car with Debbie (Simone Buchanan), stepdad Bruce (Bill Mosely, The Devil’s Rejects) and their three kids. The film’s breezy, relaxed family dynamics recalled for me long road trips along Australia’s remote, endless highways. There’s plenty of roughhousing between the youngest and his sister’s boyfriend, mentions of cabin fever and the American Bruce ridiculed for butchering Aussie slang. You immediately like this family, showing that Sun clearly has a grasp on the point of a good horror movie: if we didn’t care about how the characters related to one another, why would we be scared when they start getting picked off, one by one?

The family are off to stay with Debbie’s brother Bernie (towering strongman Nathan Jones)—among locals there’s been talk of fences knocked down, a creature sighted late at night, and terrifying stomps and grunts among the trees. During night scenes, the film is dark, shot a little too dimly, but the sense of an unsafe wilderness is evoked effectively through its sound design and tall tales told by the locals.

Sun, whose other films like Charlie’s Farm lean heavily on their R ratings and twisted ultraviolence, knows what his audience want. The giant, mechanical puppet bull is all gnashing jaws and goring tusks, spearing characters through the chest, tearing their heads off and devouring them whole. This bull isn’t satisfying its hunger or protecting its young, this is outback terror personified. It’s why city-types stay safe in apartments and why filmmakers keep making horror films in the Aussie outback.

Really, though, the film comes down to its excellent script and banter between the actors. Jarratt’s Ken shares a lengthy sequence with Blue (Roger Ward, Mad Max) as the two, pissed as newts, trek from their campfire to discover a particularly grisly kill-site. Banter like this belongs in more horror films, and I’m glad Chris Sun is around to provide it.


Tom Bensley is a freelance writer in Melbourne who reviews anything he attends, watches or reads. It’s a compulsion, really. Follow him @TomAliceBensley.

Monster Fest 2017 ran from November 23 – 26. More reviews and coverage from the festival to come.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Monster Pictures
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