Piggy takes place in modern times, but it has the societal qualities of feeling like a film that could exist at any time.
Published on March 22, 2023
Rating 4 /5
Piggy takes place in modern times, but it has the societal qualities of feeling like a film that could exist at any time. It’s a horror picture that depicts a violent series of murders amid a fat girl feeling deeply uncomfortable with the world around her. There’s a desire for revenge, a longing for acceptance, and a distaste for the world that only a teenager could harbor so furiously. With such a solid relation to Carrie, a film like this feels compelling and strangely poignant.
The film centers around the Spanish girl Sara, who is constantly referred to by the community as a pig for being overweight. She tries to escape into her world of music and pornography but also longs to go to the pool and enjoy life outside of working at her family’s butcher shop. Yet there’s always someone in her face to push her down. Sometimes her peers make mean comments about her weight, either oinking in her face or posting on social media with the same bullying label. Sometimes it’s her family, including her aloof father, abusive mother, and annoying younger brother. To top it all off, her period also makes this time in her life uncomfortable.
Her humiliation reaches a fever pitch when she goes to the pool and is mocked by the local teens who steal her clothes, forcing her to walk home in her bathing suit. While walking home, she is sexually harassed by the local punks. Sad and furious, she longs for somebody to do something about all these conspiring forces. That somebody happens to be a secretive serial killer/kidnapper in town who targets the bullying teen girls and hauls them off in her van. The killer seems to take pity on Sara for letting her go and driving off.
As the investigation into the kidnapper progresses, Sara is suspected of being behind the missing girls. She is blamed by the desperate parents who want answers, and Sara seems like their most likely suspect, given the motivation. While Sara’s mother does run defense, she offers no motherly comfort. Sara’s mom is far too focused on keeping her girl on a diet and shaming her into somehow growing up amid a world without love for her. The more the investigation continues, and the more the community dehumanizes Sara, the more comforting the kidnapper appears in targeting those who wronged her. It’s a dark desire that Sara wants to deny, but even when realizing this isn’t right, feels helpless in a world she can’t control.
Pardon the pun, but Piggy is a film that can have its cake and eat it too. It walks an excellent line between being a societal commentary on the toxic effects of fat shaming while also being a grotesque and grimy horror picture. It builds up Sara as a character you both want to pity and root for to save the day. At the same time, it doesn’t shy away from the cruelty of its scenario, featuring plenty of dark and gory scenes of brutality. The climax of Sara taking charge in the killer’s lair of meathooks and blood is viciously portrayed, where a scene of her eating the killer’s flesh feels gross and beautiful at the same time.
Piggy performs a stellar dose of horror that weaves a thrilling plot around a fat character. That may have been the case if made twenty years ago. Thankfully, this intoxicating mixture of societal pressures and brutal violence becomes something so much more. This horror movie plays beautifully with its topic and stages it with gusto, going for the jugular in more ways than one.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.