Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Pig Pen, Jason Koch's

8 of 9 viewers "Liked" "Pig Pen" (2016, USA)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Lord Battle - "Pig Pen is one of the most effective urban fantasies I've ever seen. Baltimore's transformed into a brutal sandbox setting for Zack, a semi competent skater who is kicked out of his house by his mother's abusive boyfriend Wayne, played to perfection by Vito Trigo. Those familiar with Jason's Koch's FX work will expect a micro budget gross out somewhat in line with 7th Day, but audiences won't realize just how effective the emotional arch really is until it's too late. This film plays a lot like Found since there are some serious technical issues that would stop a lesser film but only slightly hinder this one." - 4.5 Stars

Huntress - "I was a little thrown off by the lack of a clear direction in Pig Pen the first time I watched it. We follow a kid around some fantastical streets where the he got understanding and advice, but also witnessed some brutal violence. And throughout his exploration, we are given flashbacks to his quickly degrading home life. I wasn't sure how to feel. But as the movie went on, I realized that it felt aimless because I was watching Zack wandering through an environment he didn't belong to. And that almost innocent quality Pig Pen started out with definitely doesn't last." - 4 Stars

Trash - "Phenomenally fucked up, to the point at which it becomes a caricature, but its devotion to the escalating urban fantasy it's depicting keeps you locked in, with your jaw dropped. It never winks, it never relents. The lead, who is young and new to acting and is also the director's son, is such a contrast to Vito Trigo, the actor playing the mother's sadistic abusive boyfriend Wayne. Trigo is so insanely over the top, and the kid is so soft and subtle, it's actually terrifying. I can barely imagine this movie without the technical flaws... if the audio was better and it had professional color correction? Pig Pen could actually destroy you." - 4 Stars

The Great Hornito - "This was really hard to watch. Pig Pen is the bleakest movie I have ever seen. That being said, the acting was great and the pacing and cinematography were superb. This movie was really well done and effective but I never want to see it again." - 4.5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "It's nice to have a film that uses extreme gore and disgusting characters strategically to enhance the impact of the narrative, rather than using the narrative as an excuse to depict brutal incoherent gore. A true modern horror tragedy, the central struggle between our feckless hero Pig Pen and his mother's grotesque monster of a boyfriend played by Vito Trigo is paralyzing in its viciousness and narrative trajectory. The streets of Baltimore come across as having a menacing otherworldly quality that makes Pig Pen the character's journey actually feel like... well, a journey. It's unfortunate that sound issues and inconsistent acting by some side characters partially mar the film's better moments, though I am told the sound issues aren't as bad on the bluray. Moments of this film violently creep into your bowels in surprising, unpleasant ways. While it may not be for everyone, Pig Pen earns its darkness and will leave you reeling but grateful you grew up with people who loved you." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "A complete emotional mind fuck of a film. I went in blind and was thoroughly surprised by Pig Pen. It felt so dark, twisted and raw. I was rooting for the main character as well as scared for him from his first encounter with the film's villain Wayne (Vito Trigo), who is hands down the best thing about this film. Pig Pen delivered on the thrills and drama, and by the time shit hit the fan my mouth literally dropped. Gore is top notch especially with me being know as "blood thirsty"... my thirst was definitely quenched! Overall intense edge of your seat twisted film I'd definitely recommend." - 4.5 Stars

Dabbles - "Honestly this one was very boring with spots of crazy. I haven't seen many movies where I despise a character like I did Wayne but that was a good thing; when I hate a character it means the actor did a great job. The practical effects were awesome." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - "A bleak meditation on the despair of those trapped in poverty; an autistic child's journey through a carnival of horrors. I might have given it a higher rating but for the ending, which seemed like a copout." - 2 Stars

Clark Little - "A brutal and raw look at a young, luckless life. Pig Pen’s tension builds throughout and peaks in a crescendo of well executed and terrifying gore. A stand-out and measured performance from Vito Trigo makes this a must-see. Pig Pen is not for the faint of heart, but it’s execution and message make this a must-see for the horror community." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

On the surface, Pig Pen can come off as unnecessarily bleak. But some light digging - like two word Google search light - into the city that it was filmed in will show you just how accurate this portrayal really is.

10 Most Dangerous US Cities from Forbes

Baltimore seems to have every odd stacked against it; it has an immeasurable heroin problem that's big enough to dub it the “Heroin Capital” of the US by ABC, which is also linked to waves of crimes being committed in order to feed those addictions. Structurally, the city is divided by Interstate 695, familiarly referred to in Pig Pen as the Beltway, which effectively surrounds the worst areas and separates them from the rest of the city to condense a lot of crime into a small space.

There is no shortage of reasons why a teenager shouldn't be roaming the streets of Baltimore late at night, much less sleeping there. But that is exactly what happens when Zack's mother's villain of a boyfriend Wayne (Vito Trigo) kicks him out until he can come up with $20. Not because anyone needs it just then, but because that's how he will make the boy into a man.

All of Baltimore's blemishes make an appearance in Pig Pen, and some are exaggerated beyond reality into the realm of just horrific. Can people as bad as Wayne really exist? You question it because you don't want to accept that the answer is yes, they can and probably do. Those same blemishes make this dark city the perfect place for an urban fantasy adventure, where your wits, skateboard, and luck are the only things that will get you home alive and ready for one final boss.


The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 5/25/2017
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

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