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Chaw (2009)

  Tags: Asian Horror, boar, chaw, creature feature, giant, hunters, Jeong-won Shin, killer boar, korean, pig, south korea

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
5

chaw2.jpg
Rating #: 
5/10
Director: 
Jeong-won Shin
Runtime: 
121 minutes
Cast: 
Tae-woong Sin, Hang-seon Jang, Je-moon Yoon, Yu-mi Jeong, Hyeok-kwon Pak


Chaw is the latest creature feature to come out of South Korea, a country that's not exactly known for much in that particular sub-genre. Aside from The Host in 2006, I can't specifically think of any other recent efforts as far as creature features go. Sadly, Chaw turned out to be a big disappointment for me. Being a fan of Korean cinema I was hoping for a fun and cool horror romp, but instead the movie turned out to be mostly just a comedy with very minor horror and dramatic elements.

Films from the country are known to blend various sub-genres together, which can work sometimes, but for movies like Chaw, it definitely doesn't. If it weren't for the brief cuts to the pig grabbing hold and occasionally taking a bite of out some unsuspecting victim, you'd think you were simply watching a comedy. Much like what director Jeong-won Shin did with Sisily 2km, he blends horror and comedy together, but for one reason or another, opted to use more comedic aspects for this movie instead of horror.

The problem with having comedy in a movie like this is the change in tone it causes with specific scenes. For instance we'll have a scene with several guys rolling down a hill or a scene where two guys are taking a piss at night and a creepy old woman comes out of nowhere to freak them out, then we quickly shift to a more serious scene where the boar is stalking his prey once again. It almost seemed like the director wasn't even sure which way he wanted to go with the movie.

The story for the flick is basically like a modern day, Korean take on the tale of Beowulf, revolving around a small peaceful village that's terrorized by a large man-eating boar. A group of expert hunters are brought in to kill the beast, which they succeed in doing so, only to realize that the real culprit is laying in wait.

As I said before, the movie shifts constantly from comedy to horror, and occasionally we're thrown in some family drama that involves the new officer in the village having to take care of his senile mother. We're also given other seemingly pointless characters that offer nothing to the story aside from more unnecessary comedy, like the crazy hermit lady and maybe a couple bumbling police officers.

The real action with the boar doesn't actually kick in until the last 30-or-so-minutes when it loses a majority of the comedy elements and finally turns into the movie it should have been from the start. Not that the comedy the film offered wasn't good, as I found myself laughing numerous times, but the point is I went in expecting a serious creature feature, not a comedy with some horror elements here and there.

Aside from some blood and maybe a couple severed limbs, there's no gore in the flick, but I haven't really seen many Korean pics with a lot of gore in'em anyway. As for the look of the boar, it's a pretty mixed bag. There are some scenes where the boar looked good, while many of the other shots of the creature looked either too fake or obviously CGI.

Chaw turned out to be a disappointing creature feature to come out of South Korea. The movie is mostly just a comedy with minor horror and dramatic elements thrown in. Because of the constant shift in the tone of many of the scenes, you'll often find yourself questioning whether you're actually watching a horror flick, especially when you see very little of the boar the second half. Go in expecting a comedy and you may enjoy the movie, but if you go in expecting a solid creature feature,  you'll be sorely disappointed.

Posted on October 31, 2009 - 11:53am | FrighT MasteR

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