We kick off Women’s Month by looking at the dazzling feature film debut from Carlota Pereda, “Piggy”, a masterpiece on many levels.
If you’re a fan of body horror, foreign horror, psychological horror, or any combination of those subgenres, it’s almost sure that 2022’s Piggy is taking up space somewhere on your current watchlist.
The film is newcomer Carlota Pereda’s debut foray into full-length features, which first saw the light of day at Sundance this year. Of course, it’s also been causing quite a buzz ever since. But is that buzz well-deserved? Let’s get to the bottom of what Piggy brings to the table.
The Spanish-French thriller stars Lara Galan, Richard Holmes, Carmen Machi, Claudia Salas, and Irene Ferreiro, among many others.
At the center of Piggy’s storyline is Sara (Lara Galan), a shy, overweight teenager simply dubbed “Piggy” by the catty girls who bully her relentlessly. And things aren’t much better for Sara at home, as she lives a sheltered existence with her butcher father (Julian Valcarcel) and temperamental mother (Carmen Machi).
However, everything takes a turn for the worse one sweltering summer day when Sara makes a secret outing to the local pool to cool off.
Three of the girls who routinely bully Sara – including ringleader Maca (Claudia Salas) and the more reserved Claudia (Irene Ferreiro) — also happen to be there and nearly drown her after a lengthy taunting session. However, a sinister stranger (Richard Holmes) happens to have seen the whole thing. He also turns out not to have been a passive observer who just happened to be at the same pool.
Later on, as Sara makes her way home in her bikini, her phone and clothes having been taken from her by Maca earlier, she sees the mysterious man abducting her bullies. From there, an investigation ensues, although Sara decides to keep mum about what she’s seen.
The story of Piggy first found life in short film form.
Also by Pereda, the short film follows the progression of events up to the point where Sara witnesses the abduction of her bullies (watch it now free on Alter).
However, Piggy the feature endeavors to continue that narrative to the tune of incredible results.
This is a wonderful surprise of a film that blends many different topics into one entertaining tapestry. It’s funny and heartfelt, entertaining and thought-provoking, overtly grisly and subtly disturbing.
Right from the opening sequence that features various cuts of meat being processed and broken down, it’s clear that Piggy won’t sleep on the gore. It doesn’t disappoint on that front, either, but this film is so much more than that.
The real horror in this story isn’t necessarily the possibility of being turned into meat oneself. Instead, it’s about the darkness that comes with concepts like teen bullying, body shaming, and social isolation. PIGGY asks the viewer to consider the parallels between body-focused bullying and bloodier mishaps – two different ways to reduce a human being to a mere pile of meat and parts.
Saying that the performances in this film are top-tier is an understatement.
The entire cast is incredible, but Piggy ultimately belongs to the incredible Lara Galan as Sara.
Her performance is highlighted to perfection by slick writing, beautiful camera work by Rita Noriega, outstanding sound design, and a haunting score by Olivier Arson.
However, as much of a visual masterpiece as Piggy is, it also knows how to throw a hard punch straight to the gut, as a good horror movie should. In other words, this is a must-see for more reasons than one.
Piggy is an excellent, entertaining film that genuinely disturbs while inspiring viewers to consider the material further. It’s also sure to be the first of many slam dunks for Pereda.
We personally can’t wait to see what Pereda does next, and once you’ve seen Piggy, you won’t be able to, either.