Piggy (2022) Movie Review – A Spanish horror that is gruesome and insightful


A Spanish horror that is gruesome and insightful

From director Carlota Pereda (The Devil’s Tail) comes this Spanish horror-thriller about an overweight teenage girl named Sara (Laura Galán) who is bullied by her peers because of her size.

Sara is ridiculed on a regular basis and taunted with the word ‘Piggy,’ which is the nickname she has been given by the popular kids in town who make her life a constant misery. She doesn’t fight back, which makes life even harder for her, and despite the hell she goes through, she keeps the suffering she endures a secret from her overbearing parents.

One day, while swimming in a local pool, Sara’s bullies almost drown her after putting a fishing net over her head. She manages to swim to safety but is then horrified to see her wretched attackers steal her clothes. Her plight is a horrible one, made worse by the fact that she has to walk home nearly naked and in full view of passers-by.

During the exhausting walk home, she comes across a van which is owned by a shifty-looking guy that she previously spotted at the pool. This man was a witness to the bullying Sara endured although he didn’t come to her aid. However, it’s clear that he has some sympathy for her. When Sara hears a noise from within the van, she notices her bullies in the back of the vehicle, one of whom is screaming and covered in blood. The guy has no problem letting Sara get a good look at her attackers or showing her that he is the one that has abducted them. As he and Sara lock eyes, it’s as if he is looking for her approval.

It’s at this point that Sara has a choice to make. Does she attempt to save the girls from their abductor? Or does she leave them to their fate? We aren’t going to reveal the answer here but consider this question: What would you do? If you have ever been a victim of bullying, you may have fantasized about getting revenge on the people who cruelly taunted you. Like Sara, you might be a nice person at heart but if given the chance to get back at your bullies, would you? If they were locked up in the back of a van, would you rush to their aid? Or would you walk away from their predicament?

Piggy is a movie that encourages us to contemplate these questions by putting us in Sara’s shoes. In reality, the majority of us wouldn’t want to see our bullies suffer at the hands of a potential serial killer, but after seeing Sara endure various atrocities at the hands of her oppressors, we are likely to wish for a cathartic moment where these mean girls finally get what is coming to them.

Sara’s actions and the repercussions of them become the focus of the movie. We watch as she wrestles with the consequences of her actions and we feel for her when her life becomes increasingly worse because of the decisions she makes. It’s a tough watch but a gripping one and unlike many horror thrillers that have used ‘bullying’ as a theme, it’s far from predictable.  Director Pereda’s exceptional script regularly catches us off guard and her movie is all the better for it. Certain scenes begin to play out in ways that we might expect but they then take turns that are both surprising and astonishing.

As good as the writing is, it’s the performance of Laura Galán as the bullied teen that really makes the movie work. She nails her role in almost every scene, ably displaying the shattered emotions on Sara’s face whenever the camera moves in for a close-up. One can only imagine how grueling it must have been for Galán when she was called upon to react to the indignities and humiliations that her character goes through. She won several awards for her bravura performance and deservedly so. Here’s hoping she gets further film roles that allow her to demonstrate her considerable talents.

On the surface, Piggy is yet another tale about bullying and teenage angst, but it’s also a movie about the class system and the horrible way those who consider themselves to be superior treat those they deem ‘less fortunate’ than they are. At its latter stages, the movie moves into revenge thriller territory with a put-upon teen girl as the protagonist and towards its close, the movie shares similarities with the torture porn dramatics of such genre flicks as Hostel and Saw.

Despite its dark nature, the movie is also surprisingly funny at times, with certain sequences likely to make you giggle and squirm at the same time. A scene featuring Sara trying (and failing) to hide from her parents when sneaking around in her family home is particularly amusing, in a blackly comic way.

Piggy is an intelligent horror thriller that manages to entertain even though it’s capable of causing revulsion. It has much in common with Carrie, Tormented, and other movies that have featured the victims of bullying as their protagonists. But it also walks its own path to become something that is markedly different to any of them so can be applauded for its originality.

Ultimately, Piggy is a fine movie and one well worth seeing. But your overall reaction to it, I suspect, will likely be dictated by your own teenage experiences and whether you were the bully or the bullied.


Read More: Piggy Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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