A black comedy about the events that are set into motion in a town after a man-eating boar goes on a rampage.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
'Chawz' is a movie about a giant killer boar. In case that didn't register, I'll repeat, this is a movie about a giant killer boar. Now take a second and just let that sink in. Let it simmer in your mind for a minute or two. OK, good. Now, there are basically only two kinds of people in the world. There are people who hear there is a movie about a giant killer boar and immediately run the other way, and then there are people who hear there is a movie about a giant killer boar and think to themselves, "Hey now, well that just sounds swell, what took so long?" Before watching 'Chawz' I thought I was a proud member of that latter group. After watching 'Chawz' I might need to reconsider.
'Chawz' is a Korean horror comedy that follows a young police officer who is transferred from the city to a small village. This small village happens to be under attack by, yes, a giant killer boar. From this premise one might expect a fun, breezy, gory, and creative exercise pitting man against man-eating pig. Unfortunately, what one gets is an occasionally fun, slow, surprisingly not very gory, uninspired exercise pitting man against man-eating pig. The main problem with 'Chawz' is that far too much time is spent on setup and silly diversions with the various townspeople. Though there is some humor to be had in these non-killer boar related segments, with a film like this, you just want to see the stupid killer boar. Disappointingly, the action sequences featuring said deadly pig aren't nearly as fun as they could have been. Though there is an occasional splash of blood or severed appendage, most of the killing takes place just offscreen forcing your imagination to fill in the gory, pork fueled carnage. While a choice like this can enhance tension, in this case, a more over the top approach would have been more exciting
To its credit, the second half of the film does manage to pick up some momentum as a mostly rag-tag team of hunters is assembled to put an end to the boar's reign of terror. Some chemistry finally starts to develop between the characters and the pig action ramps up, but it's just not enough to save the movie. Though there are some cool shots here and there, the majority of the film lacks the kind of kinetic energy and style that makes other successful horror comedies work. There is a slightly amateur feel to the execution that holds back on thrills and thwarts any potential for real fun.
In the end, 'Chawz' will simply have to accept its place as a purely mediocre entry into the man-eating pig genre of cinema. Though there is a marginal amount of fun to be had here, the film is far too slow and bland in its execution. I guess we'll just have to wait a bit longer for that great killer boar movie.
Presented with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the video here is disappointing. There is an overall lack of detail and depth to the picture, giving the proceedings a rather unappealing, flat look. The film has an intentionally stylized appearance that can actually vary from scene to scene a bit, which leads to blown out contrast and occasionally subdued colors. Black levels fluctuate from a nice deep shade, to a more problematic gray.
Shot on HDCAM, there is no grain, but noise is visible from time to time. Edge enhancement is also noticeable in some shots.
Overall, 'Chawz' is an unfortunately ugly looking film on Blu-ray. There are certain sequences that come off a bit better than others, but it's still a fairly lackluster transfer.
The film is provided with a Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track along with an English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track with English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitle options. The audio fares a bit better than the video but is still rather lacking.
The track is mostly front loaded, though surrounds do get some lively use during the action sequences, sending gun shots, screams, and of course, squeals, in all directions. Dialogue is clean but a little thin sounding. Dynamic range is fairly good, while still maintaining a nice balance between elements. Bass also kicks in nicely during the action scenes.
Overall, the audio is satisfactory but not impressive. There are many sequences which come across as rather flat, and even when the surrounds do come into play, they never make for a truly immersive soundscape.
There is a healthy set of supplements here, including a nice in depth look at the making of the film. With the exception of some trailers, all are presented in standard definition with stereo sound and English subtitles.
- Attack of a Man-Eating Wild Boar (SD,
25 min) - The first part of a three part behind the scenes look at the film, focuses on general production and the creation of the monstrous boar used in filming. The most intriguing information learned here is that most of the forest scenes were actually shot on location in San Francisco.
- Five-Man Pursuit (SD,
16 min) - Part two focuses on the characters of the film and features more behind the scenes footage and interviews with the actors discussing their process.
- Horror vs. Comedy (SD, 20 min) - The final featurette focuses on the film's blend of comedy and horror. It features behind the scenes footage of some of the more comedic bits as well as interviews with the director discussing his motivations for including them.
- Deleted Scenes (SD,
10 min) - Six deleted scenes from the film viewable separately or together. There isn't anything too interesting here, and seeing how the film already feels a bit too long, it's probably best that these were all cut.
- Blooper Reel Poster Shots (SD, 4 min) - Not really a blooper reel per say, this is really behind the scenes footage showing the actors posing for the film's poster. By posing, I of course mean running toward the camera, stopping abruptly, making scared faces, and then screaming loudly in terror as the shots are taken. I guess no one told the actors that you can't actually hear a poster.
- Q&A Session Premiere Event (SD,
4 min) - Like the bloopers, this is not actually footage of a Q&A. Instead we see the director and actors introduce themselves before a screening of the film. Afterwards we see them being photographed awkwardly on a red carpet. Some adamantly refuse to smile, and watching their lifeless, blank expressions under the flashing bulbs juxtaposed with some of their more visibly chipper castmates, was actually more entertaining than the movie.
- International Trailer - The trailer for the film provided in standard definition and stereo sound.
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray - Several more trailers for other Magnolia releases provided in 1080p and 1080i with Dolby Digital audio tracks.
'Chawz' held some promise, but ultimately it just isn't very fun. There are some minor thrills and bits of humor, and it is indeed entertaining to see a giant animatronic pig attacking people, but it's too slow and visually uninspired. The video and audio are both fairly lackluster but there is a nice assortment of special features. Fans of similar horror comedies may want to take a look, but for most this is a pass.
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