Piggy Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
Released by Morena Films
Written and directed by Carlota Pereda
2022, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Grimmfest Northern Premiere on 8th October 2022
Laura Galan as Sara
Claudia Salas as Maca
Stephanie Magnin Vella as Rosa
Carmen Machi as Madre
Pilar Castro as Elena
Camille Aguilar as Roci
Fred Tatien as Padre Roci
Jose Pastor as Pedro
“Let’s catch the pig whale,” shrieks one of the girls gleefully flinging a fishing net over Sara’s head at the village pool in their rural Spanish town. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough already, Sara (Laura Galán) is constantly bullied for her body size by a group of schoolgirls who have nicknamed her “Piggy” and her butcher shop-owning family “the three little pigs”. Not only is she perpetually tormented by her peers, but she is also misunderstood by her unaware parents and little brother too. So when a stranger rocks into the village and kidnaps her tormentors, driving them away down a dirt track in a van that only she is witness to, Sara is forced to wade through conflicting emotions and face her conscience as the local village erupts into commotion and finger-pointing around her.
A social commentary on themes of fat-shaming and self-acceptance, with which it couldn’t deal with any more head-on, Piggy (Cerdita) is a real hard-to-watch emotional heavyweight from start to finish, and Galán – who reprises her role as Sara from the eponymous, 2018-released short – carries the intensity and brutal physicality that the role demands with a performance as committed as the genre has ever seen. Fear, hurt, anguish, anger, embarrassment, compassion – Galán wears it all on her sleeve to, more than anything else, elevate the film to a higher plane.
While the kidnapper’s actions ensue and meander down a model horror path, the real horror and by far the toughest watch isn't the brutal, traditionally nighttime violence but, refreshingly, out in open daylight, with the sun basking down on a village pool where a traumatised girl with low self-esteem is living out true fear. This, coupled with the character study of Sara, who is caught in a moral battle, feeling gratitude towards the guy who saved her as well as concern for the girls' fate, is Piggy’s strength.
Not everything works as well as we head into the final third – the horror tropes that take over don't have quite as much sting as the impressive set-up and the romantic subplot, spawned by the mutual intrigue between Sara and the kidnapper, ultimately doesn’t hold much fabric – though the determination of director Carlota Pereda not to neatly tie things up with a resolute redemption arc is yet another satisfying bullseye for this deliciously dark, distressing revenge horror.
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