- Director: Chad Ferrin
- Writer: Chad Ferrin
- Stars: Jake Busey, Lew Temple, Bai Ling, Kate Patel
Pig Killer is based on Canadian serial killer Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton. A pig farmer that raped and killed nearly fifty women, he was eventually caught and arrested in 2002.
The film gives us a dirty look at Willy’s (Busey) crimes. Starting with the murder of sex worker Brenda (Ling), this gives us a look into Willy’s mind as any sexual situation is dominated by hallucinations of his mother (Lynn), its a glimpse into his childhood and it isn not pretty. After killing Brenda, he cuts up her body with a circular saw. This gives us the base that film builds on dirty, grimey, and gory. Lew Temple plays David, Willy’s brother, doesn’t seem to have the same issues as Willy but is still aware that his brother is different.
The other side of the film concentrates on Wendy (Patel), a woman who will end up being someone vital in the taking down of Willy. She lives with her father and a horrible stepmother. Wendy is a drug addict who, after an overdose, becomes a little bit infatuated with Willy. Willy and her share less than ideal childhoods, and they bond over this. When Willy gets her back to the farm, things start to unravel.
Busey stars as Willy, Busey whilst not known for subtle performances, does well here playing Pickton as a completely weird, occasionally charming and tormented man. This is probably the best performance I’ve seen from Busey, and with no disrespect intended, it was a welcome surprise.
Pig Killer is very graphic. Not so much in that the gore is graphic (it is by its own nature) but more in the things you see. A mangled penis being pleasured, needles straight into eyes, and various cutting and sawing throughout the film. Whilst this makes the film somewhat gratuitous, it also can’t be denied that these things did happen.
The films many music cues, are jarring and that is a purposeful choice. The music generally accompanies Willy’s thoughts, feelings, or a foreshadowing of a horrible event to come. The music jangles for a small period of time and then cuts out abruptly. It’s a pretty blunt tool that is used, but it gets the message across. Director Chad McFerrin manages to capture the insanity of the story, giving us a truly unpleasant experience. The writing is ok, but there are more than a few moments that probably didn’t need to be in this film and chance to trim this up a little.
Making films about serial killers is always frought with some danger. You don’t want the serial killer to be praised or paint them as a character that needs your sympathy bit at the same time you also don’t want to make them a cartoonish villain. Pig Killer manages to ride that line for the most part, even if it does try very hard to be shocking. Busey gives Willy a small dash of charisma that disappears the moment he can really be himself.
I can’t say that Pig Killer is a good film. It is, however, an interesting one, albeit one that seems to revel in the horror of it all. A grimey, bloody look into insanity that you’d never want to be a part of.
Pig Killer is available on Digital now.