Friday, October 12, 2012

Chaw (2009)



There's South Korean masterpieces like Oldboy, I Saw the Devil, Thirst, Mother and Memories of Murder (one of the best films EVER made according to me). Then we have those that never go that far, but lives their own little lives on DVD-shelves the world over. The crazy, trashy, stupid and very entertaining Dragon Wars is one of them. But now we're gonna talk about a really forgotten film, Chaw - who in the US got the ridiculous title CHAWZ. Every distributor in the world wanted creature features from South Korea after The Host, but it kinda never happen. Chaw came and disappeared, which is a damn pity! Why? 'Cause it's a fine mix between monster film and black comedy, with a bizarre twist of Twin Peaks and backwoods-slasher!

Somewhere in the South Korean country side there's a danger lurking in the dark forests. Something that people suspect is a boar is killing animals, stealing apples and now it's attacking humans, dead or alive! A young policeman from Seoul gets involved in the case and soon he and the local police force is leading the hunt together with some Russian and Finnish bear-hunters and some local animal activists! They think it will be an easy mission, but we all know what that means...

This is a lot of fun but maybe only for those already fans of South Korean cinema, because there's not one single American company that would produce a light-weight killer pig movie that runs almost two hours! Yes, this is a full-blown black comedy/drama/monster/action/horror that refuses to pretend it has nothing to say. Instead we're getting a pretty interesting story about a Seoul policeman who gives one ticket to many and is moved to a slack backwoods-town where nothing is happening. Well, until the giant killer boar starts harvesting victims of course.

The comedy is a wild mix between slapstick and subtle satire and every character is given enough time to make us know them, often their more macabre sides - for example the ghastly, ghost-like woman living in the forest and who seems to know more about the boar than anyone thinks, an obviously spoof/reference to all the Asian longhaired ghosts occupying the cinemas for a long time now. I've always appreciated the South Korean cinema for their patience. They stay a while with the characters, they show us their normal life outside the adventures and horrors. We get to know the humans behind the madness. Often centred around families, of all kinds. So even here. Chaw almost starts off like a realistic cop movie by the way, with handheld camera on the streets and a cop trying to cope with his boring job.

The actual boar is a nice-looking creature, a mix between CG and animatronics and most of the time it looks good. There's some wider angles that looks less than good, but I'm one of those that loves SyFy Originals, so this looks good to me. Don't expect much gore though. It has it's fair share of blood and limbs, but it's not especially nasty - and the UK DVD has removed a scene where some animals are killed for real (a scene like that is totally unnecessary and I choose this DVD just because of that). Like many other movies in the same genre there's more than a few Jaws-references - maybe unintentionally, but still there. Classic twists and plots that's been tradition in creature features since the 70's.

Chaw is, right now, dirt cheap at Play.com. It's so cheap it's not even worth calling it a price - and remember that the shipping is included in the price. I doubt they're shipping to the US, but to the rest of Europe shouldn't be any problems - and I think you should give this little piggy a chance. It needs some love, seriously. It's a well-made, often well-written and spectacular fun-ride of pig-madness!

4 comments:

Gekko P. said...

Love it, and I'm totally with you about Memories of Murder. I interviewed Bong Joon-ho last year, he's the REAL man.

Anonymous said...

"The crazy, trashy, stupid and very entertaining Dragon Wars is one of them."

Yeah...you can say that again, but I liked the CGI and when the dragons attack helicopters, and stuff in one of the bigger battles.

But the rest....yesh.


"Every distributor in the world wanted creature features from South Korea after The Host, but it kinda never happen."

And they keep trying...look at 7 gwanggu/Sector 7(2011)....fun stuff ninja.


"Yes, this is a full-blown black comedy/drama/monster/action/horror that refuses to pretend it has nothing to say."

At times I got the feeling that the director, screen writer, whoever can´t make up their minds.

There were some hintings that wild boars got a taste for human flesh during WW2, under japanese occupation etc....but as you said....they don´t want go there and make the film deeper.


"The actual boar is a nice-looking creature, a mix between CG and animatronics and most of the time it looks good."

I liked the look of it.....just wish they had spent even more with the script, create better scenes or whatnot.


"It needs some love, seriously. It's a well-made, often well-written and spectacular fun-ride of pig-madness!"

Yeah I agree with you, more people should see this one.

Great review ninja....glad you reviewed this one.

I´m hoping for a review of Proie (2010) next....pleassseeee...?

Megatron

Ninja Dixon said...

Gekko: You interview him? Tell me about it!

Megaton, I never heard of Proie - at least not under that name! Will check it!

Anonymous said...

Ninja: Prey/Proie (2010) french pig killer film not as technically entertaining as Chaw but has much darker tone, ninja.

Director was Antoine Blossier.

And with a more obvious message.


Megatron