An Australian horror film about a supernaturally enormous wild boar, Razorback should not be worth much more than its value as an 80s creature feature, but there’s something oddly special about it, especially in its visual palette. Although it is by all means a run of the mill horror film, at least narratively speaking, it also excels in monster movie mayhem & dreamlike visual trickery. Its skeezy tale of big city folks from New York being tormented by dangerous, near-feral Outback locals is far from extraordinary in the context of its genre & can often be downright repugnant in its cruelty. Still, Razorback endures as a unique oddity. The true draw of the film, of course, is the titular razorback, a gigantic beast whose remarkably horrific screen presence makes for one of the best cinematic monsters I’ve seen in a good while, but there’s also a much stranger undercurrent of psychedelia backing the boar up with a beyond-ominous atmosphere that helps the film outshine its mundane dedication to the horror tropes of its era.
The wild boar star of Razorback is far from the kind of cinematic swine you’ll find in titles like Babe or Gordy. It’s a disgusting, vile monster of a beast, tearing apart homes & vehicles and snatching up babies & women with wild abandon, his menacing tusks threatening to gore everything in site. There’s a certain amount of typical low budget monster movie concealment that keeps the razorback in the dark, hiding him in shadows or depicting action from a boar cam that captures his POV, but whenever he’s afforded screen time he shines as a grotesque menace. Given the unlikability of most of the film’s local brutes, it’s almost tempting to sympathize with the boar in all of his horrific magnificence. There’s even a scene where the hideous bastard prevents a near-rape, almost shining as an unlikely hero, but that sentiment is severely undercut when he immediately devours the would-be victim.
Even the schlockiest of horror flicks rarely can survive on the strengths of their monsters alone & although Razorback boasts some surprisingly effective creature horror, it’s the movie’s general atmosphere that makes its special. The film has an otherworldly eye for Australian wilderness, illuminating the setting’s wide open landscapes with strangely colored lights, animated skeletons, and humanoid pig faces. Just as a dehydrated traveler would hallucinate in the Australian wild, Razorback‘s visual eye is a horrifically detached-from-reality trip through a dangerous landscape ruled by dangerous reprobates & and ripped apart by a supernaturally dangerous boar that ties the whole thing together in a neat little creature feature package. It’s an alarmingly wild film (especially considering its strict adherence to genre tropes) that’s definitely worth a look next time you want to take a trip into the more sordid, but oddly psychedelic depths of the natural horror genre.
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