Movie Name: Razorback
Studio: McElroy & McElroy
Release Date(s): November 2, 1984
MPAA Rating: R
Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr) finds his life ripped apart when his grandson is taken by a giant razorback. Jake sets out on a quest for revenge against razorbacks which puts him in contact with an American reporter named Beth Winters (Judy Morris) who is reporting on the hunting of kangaroos. When Beth is attacked by a group of men and killed by a mutant razorback, Beth’s husband Carl (Gregory Harrison) comes to Australia seeking answers, and with Jake and a researcher named Sarah Cameron (Arkie Whiteley), Carl will face the danger of men and monsters.
Directed by Russell Mulcahy, Razorback is a nature horror film. The movie was based on the 1984 novel by Peter Brennan. The film received average reviews and was considered part of the wave of Ozploitation films that were released in the ’80s.
Razorback already seems like a bad idea when you think about it. Wild boar are dangerous, but I also don’t find them very scary. It isn’t like a shark in Jaws that lies under the water…it is a loud, big, smelly pig. Razorback starts out kind of strong, but then fizzles.
Other than Jaws, it also feels like the story of Lindy Chamberlain has ties to Razorback. Like the classic “Dingoes ate my baby” quote, the start of the movie seems to borrow from it replacing dingoes with razorbacks. The movie really doesn’t have much of a path. For a while you think it is about Bill Kerr’s character, then you think it is about Judy Morris’ character, but the movie ends up being about Gregory Harrison’s character…the movie just drags out and ends in a bad, uninspired monster fight.
The acting is so-so. With no clear star, none of the actors seem to get what is due to them. The acting is very average with Bill Kerr being the most dynamic of the character. The Baker brothers that are played by Chris Haywood and David Argue just feel like bad extras from Mad Max. Jeff Bridges was considered for the role played by Gregory Harrison which would have been an improvement.
The movie starts out with some great atmosphere. The film has a dusty desert look that fits the Ozploitation style of the film with interesting lighting and scenery. Unfortunately, the look gets old fast. The style gets overblown, and this is combined with a rather weak “monster” boar that comes off as more goofy than deadly. It also directly steals a few shots from Jaws like the famous beach counter-zoom and the shark rising up out of the water behind Roy Scheider.
Razorback is a bad movie that has some fun in being a bad movie. The movie could have been better with streamlining and a more focused plot, but the movie needs some bigger jumps. The movie has gained a cult audience of the years, but I don’t know that it is very deserving of it. It is a relatively short movie and fans of horror and “animals attack” might want to check it out.