Dir. Chad Ferrin (2023)
The strange and sorta true story about a Canadian serial killer who used his pig farm to dispose of his 49 female victims.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I’ve always thought that using a pig farm to dispose of a murder victim is pretty close to the perfect crime, a crime that Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton was well acquainted with during his almost 20-year reign of terror over Vancouver. Director Chad Ferrin takes aim at the horrific true story, with Jake Busey (Starship Troopers, Stranger Things) portraying the titular pig killer. This is without a doubt a Chad Ferrin movie, attempting to portray the life of a serial killer in as dirty and realistic a way as possible, a darkly comedic Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. No punches are pulled in this attempt to examine the inner mind of a psychopath, driven to his acts by a lifetime of abuse and humiliation.
The soundtrack is excellent, every song picked to fit perfectly into the scene in which it plays, bright and happy music overlaying disturbing scenes of violence and dismemberment and quick cuts back to the action that serves to take the audience out of its comfort zone. The violence is brutal and shocking, with overtly sexualized killings that really help to expose the sadistic and fucked up background of the killer. Porn legend Ginger Lynn plays Pickton’s mother, and the film leaves no doubt as to the impact that she’s had on his relationships with women, serving as the Oedipal motivation for his sadism and brutality.
Busey does a fantastic job of portraying the farming psychopath, lending real emotional weight to someone who just wants to find people who want to be his friends, who want to spend time with him because they like him and not because he can provide them with drugs or parties. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be his lot in life (for the most part,) and this compulsion to find personal relationships blends all-too-well with his psychopathic visions of past trauma. There are parts of him that embrace these humiliating events, parts of him that are okay with being branded “Piggy.” These same parts are the ones that dictate his only friends in the world to be, in fact, the pigs, most notably a large oinker named Balthazar (which is a metal as fuck name for a pig, tbh).
There’s no escaping the farm for our titular antihero, but the film does serve as a fascinating study into the mind of psychopathy and the past events that can lead someone who already has these predilections astray. It’s a nihilistic look into loneliness, one that never sides with the killer but gives you plenty of reasons to sympathize with him. There is an inherent brutality in making a film about a real life murderer, one that can often be viewed as insensitive in a film like this, that prioritizes black humor as much as it does bloody violence. Ferrin walks this line tremendously well, giving us a fictionalized view of one of the most sadistic killers in Canadian history while also delivering a very watchable movie that straddles the line between just-enough gore and just-enough Jake Busey penis.
There’s something so disturbing about a Canadian serial killer that probably wouldn’t hold true if the story were to take place in America. Canadians are supposed to be our gentle Northern neighbors, polite to a fault and always seeking out ways to be of assistance to others who need it. To imagine one of those Canucks brutally murdering scores of women is so much more impactful than if it was someone from Ohio or whatever.
The real Willie Pickton.
Who this movie is for: Serial killer film fans, Indie horror lovers, Canadians
Bottom line: While my guest writer Gorey Bits reviewed Ferrin’s Night Caller earlier this year, this is the first of his films I’ve been able to check out for the site. Ferrin has a knack for making films with some amazing premises, and I can’t wait to check out more after watching Pig Killer. This one is heading to festivals nationwide, and I think it’s going to raise quite a bit of fuss. It’s a fun movie that is equal parts funny and frightening, a true look inside the mind of a psychopath that can be aptly compared to other, legendary members of the subgenre. This is one that people need to see, and is one of the better indie joints I’ve taken in this year.