By now, everyone knows how much I enjoy revenge flicks. I’ve covered a countless number of them and am always pleased at how filmmakers continue to push the sub-genre into different directions. There have been the classic rape/revenge flicks and even those taken to supernatural levels, but I don’t believe there have been any as gritty or realistic as Jason M. Koch’s Pig Pen.
Zack (Lucas Koch), who also goes by “Pig Pen” by bullies at school, lives with his mother and her abusive boyfriend, Wayne (Vito Trigo, Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2). After being forced out of the house, he quickly learns what it’s like to survive on the streets littered with the homeless, criminals, and the occasional stranger trying to lend a helping hand. When Zack finally returns to find his mother brutally tortured, he must think fast and do whatever it takes to stop Wayne for what he’s done.
While I like to support independent filmmakers, it is extremely hard for me to fully get into films that have such budget restraints. Luckily, Pig Pen didn’t take long to distract me from those limitations; With performances way above par for a film of this nature and a script with much more substance than I’ve come to expect, this one had me hooked almost immediately.
Pig Pen features a small main cast with a pretty decent amount of smaller roles, as well. I’m happy to say that every one featured throughout the film’s 83 minute runtime did a pretty damn good job. From the actors who were only present for one scene to the film’s main players, I was greatly impressed by all. I will say that the weakest performance was ironically from Nicolette le Faye (President’s Day), one of three main characters, but she wasn’t bad enough to take away from everything else that was unfolding. Lucas Koch as Zack and Vito Trigo as the sadistic Wayne were more than enough to make me skip right over le Faye’s shortcomings.
Jason M. Koch has made a film that is much different from most indie horror I’ve seen before. Pig Pen is much more deeply rooted in the harsh realities of poverty, drug addiction, and abusive relationships than your average revenge genre film. This is what makes the script more intriguing than most, but when the true blood-and-gore horror stuff finally makes its way onto the screen… that’s when things really get crazy.
Pig Pen is a great watch for the first two acts, but as soon as we get to see what Wayne has done to Zack’s mother while he’s been away, I let out a huge gasp, while simultaneously having a huge grin on my face. This is what you gore-hounds came for. I won’t spoil it for you depraved freaks, but trust me when I say, you will enjoy the last 15-20 minutes of this movie immensely.
The special effects and make-up team did a beautiful job on this production. Everything from slit throats to severed appendages look excruciatingly authentic and are not to be seen by the fainthearted. I love everything Koch did with this film and I may now make it a mission of mine to finally check out some of his other projects like 2013’s 7th Day. I also look forward to his next film, whatever and whenever that may be.
If you support independent filmmakers and want to watch a horror film that’s a bit different from the rest, you certainly need to check out Jason Koch’s Pig Pen. While it may lack in top-notch audio or lighting, it does feature good performances, an intelligent script, and impressive practical special effects. It also happens to contain a rather unexpected ending, which also happens to be perfectly fitting and really the only option for a story like this.
You can pick up a copy of Pig Pen on DVD, available now from MVD Entertainment Group.
I give this one 4 chopped up digits out of 5.