Killer High (2018) starring Kacey Rohl, Humberley Gonzalez and Varun Saranga. Directed by Jem Garrard.
Killer pigs (or Suidae if we want to include the whole family) is something the horror world could have a lot more of in my opinion. Everyone remembers the go to movie Razorback, which I didn’t like that much. We also had 1974’s Pigs, which I thought would be like James Herbert’s The Rats, but with pigs, only instead it’s a movie about a woman who is a complete lunatic. Never has a movie poster given such a false sense of what a movie’s about than that misleading piece of shit. That just leaves Pig Hunt (2009) and Prey (2010) to scratch the porcine itch. On the reading front, I quickly devoured Duncan McGeary’s Tuskers but I haven’t really found anything else. Hunter Shea needs to get on that shit, I’m thinking ‘Boar-nado! When pigs go category five!’ or something. Why is the pig so underutilized in the world of horror? It’s a question that keeps me awake at nights, let me tell you.
So why all this talk about pigs? Well, I recently watched Killer High, which I thought would be a straight up slasher but was something a little different.
The movie opens with a billboard telling us that the derelict Wallingham High School will be turned into Afterlife Oasis, a joint retirement home and graveyard. We then see a bunch of kids on a treasure hunt break into the school, because they need an item that bears the school mascot. Well one of the kids finds the team mascot suit (a warthog!) and puts on the suit. He then inexplicably becomes possessed and kills his friends.
We then shift to Sabrina who is organizing a high school reunion for the class of 2008. Turns out Wallingham is a ghost town, business has died and people have long since moved away, apart from Sabrina who refuses to leave and sees the reunion as a chance to relive her glory days as an honor student. So after fixing up the school and filling it with the class of 2008, the reunion gets under way with people being killed by the possessed warthog thing.
The drawback with this movie is the creature. I was confused as to whether the creature was real or a guy in a suit who was possessed. Turns out by the end of the movie it was supposed to be a real demonic warthog that the person wearing the mask transforms into but the suit is so laughably bad it’s one of those super rare occasions you think CGI would have been a better choice. Also we get creepy black and white photos of former students wearing the original hog mask and this looks so much cooler and scarier than the creature that I can’t help but think if they’d made this movie as a straight up slasher instead of a creature feature it would have been a solid 9.
What works though is the performance from Kacey Rohl, who carries the entire movie with her portrayal of Sabrina as the honor student who finds she has no life now that high school is over and the real world doesn’t give two shits about grade averages and debating teams. This might not be the greatest movie but Kacey was all in and her performance lifted this movie out of the ‘meh’ zone.
What also works is the movie’s 80’s video shlock aesthetic, it has a simple plot; guy puts on mask, transforms into beast and kills class reunion. Watching this I was reminded of the classic 1986 slasher Slaughter High, if they’d just gone with a guy in a mask I’d be all over this.
Also strange is the soundtrack choice, which features typical 80’s synth music but these kids are supposed to have been in high school in the 2000’s so , I dunno.
Still, what we’re left with is an enjoyable horror that puts in enough gags to let you know it absolutely doesn’t take itself seriously and has some great freeze frame kills with plenty of CGI arterial spray straight out of Mortal Kombat 11.
That fucking creature costume though…
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.