'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.
'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.