Though based on a terrifying true-crime story, Piglady fails to deliver due to uninteresting characters, an underwhelming killer, and diabolical dialogue.
During the opening scene of Piglady, a man named Caleb Jones (Alex C. Johnson) is shown on a news segment discussing the shocking arrest of a farmer named Susan and the discovery of body parts on her property. As it turns out, he and his wife Rachel lived on the lot and acted as helpers before the murders were uncovered, though they were not involved in the brutal killings.
The real-life perpetrator, Susan Monica, murdered two handymen on her Wimer, Oregon farm and fed their remains to her pigs. In Adam Fair’s directorial debut, two couples are the target of the pig lady’s wrath, because is it a horror film without oblivious lovers embracing a relaxing getaway deep in the wooded country before all hell breaks loose?
Piglady is eerie from the start due to the events that inspired the film. The true crime facts are terrifying on paper, yet the feature quickly loses momentum after a promising attention-grabbing opening. Mirroring the real-life story, the film’s events occur in the same rural area of The Beaver State with Adrianna (Karri Davis), Brittany (Alicia Karami), Hunter (Adam Fair), and Tony (Liam Watkins) at the forefront of all the chaos. After the couples head to a remote area cabin for a Christmas vacation, as you may have guessed, their trip becomes anything but peaceful. One of the most significant drawbacks of Piglady is that the core characters aren’t remotely interesting and don’t have engaging personalities to which the audience can connect.
Some monotonous conversations between the foursome include a talk about the weather, an argument involving a pig roast, and if Adrianna should go topless in the hot tub. Now, don’t get me wrong: horror doesn’t have to focus on extensive character development to be effective. However, the protagonists in Piglady are too surface-level to care about, and their lackluster conversations and diabolical dialogue make the film’s 99-minute runtime hard work.
Another issue is the execution of the pig lady herself (Sandra Dee Tryon), who fails to bring the scare factor. Her face is mostly hidden, and she says few words, but these tactics used to make her appear more intimidating fall flat due to an unconvincing performance. When she does speak, the lines delivered are monotone, and the way the character plods around the farm makes her presence more comedic than menacing.
There are a few jump scare attempts in Piglady as the farm owner randomly shows up outside the foursome’s cabin, watching from afar in broad daylight. Other frights are paired with some over-the-top sounding amateur sound effects with little impact on the fear scale.
Of course, the ferocious killer somehow quickly catches up to her victims after they have run away frantically, and one human target takes cover in what appears to be a solid hiding spot, only to be found instantly by the killer. Enter overused horror tropes!
The best part of Piglady is its setting, which does give off a The Cabin in the Woods vibe, minus the intriguing characters and inviting storyline. Still, the forest landscape and cabin used in the feature is a match made in horror heaven and an effective part of the film. It’s just a shame that there isn’t much else memorable about Piglady to support it.
Piglady will be released on digital platforms on August 22, 2023.