Dir. Carlota Pereda
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Only one week into 2023 and already we have a shot of European horror that proves there's plenty of life left in the genre.
Not everyone loves summertime. For Sara, it just means dealing with a constant barrage of mockery, judgment, and abuse from the other girls in her village. But today is different. A mysterious unknown man arrives in the village and kidnaps her tormentors. Someone has finally stood up for her. Sara sees it all: the blood, the mud, the knife, and the van in which he has taken them. And the unknown man has seen her. A wordless pact that neither will betray. She's an accomplice now. A series of crimes rock the village, and an investigation soon begins. The civil guard has endless questions, the villagers are suspicious and point fingers, the elderly neighbors' gossip. The heat is stifling, the pressure suffocating and her guilt torment her. What if she is found out? What's happened to the girls? What if the unknown man returns?
PIGGY is an emotional rollercoaster and a psychological battle for what feels right against what actually is the right thing to do. A battle between what makes a person good and evil handled a million times better than 2022's HALLOWEEN ENDS.
Where Carlota Pereda's film hits hardest is when it gives lead Laura Galán the screen to shine. Bullied for her appearance by local girls and old friends, her life takes an unexpected turn with her new "friend" who is the first person to give her warmth and hospitality and a space to reflect on how her actions will affect those around her, and what it will cost.
With the pastel cinematography and beautiful scenery, it's as much a tourism trip as it is a gut punching reality check to real people and real issues that are often abandoned by film's selection of eye candy and adornment to movie stars we are poised with. Fortunately, while the films subject mirrors the negativity associated with obesity and the social afflictions that come with it, PIGGY manages to remain real and doesn't try to sugar coat the impact.
PIGGY is a heartfelt journey but doesn't shy away from being the grim companion to the likes of HIGH TENSION and FRONTIER(S). Galán really gives a heroine for the downtrodden and an icon for the genre. The conflict and inner battles are interwoven with the misery of real villains and the careless abandon bullies and ignorance leave without reflection.