Fantastic Fest Review: ‘Piggy’ Delivers on teenage angst, a taste of revenge

Review of: Piggy

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3.5
On October 4, 2022
Last modified:October 5, 2022

Summary:

Piggy surprises and shocks all the way up to its ending. It’s fueled by teenage angst and revenge, keeping you in suspense and invested in this story of sweet, potential revenge. Ultimately, it’s at its best when it takes the time to understand Sara and stick with her no matter what. Come for the story of Sara’s revenge, and stay for the twists and turns along the way.

There is an inherent horror in growing up as an outsider. People might not always understand you, and when people don’t understand you (or want to), they can be cruel. Such is the case for Sara (Laura Galán), the main character of Carlota Pereda’s debut, Piggy. Sara just wants to make it through her day-to-day life but is relentlessly tormented by the group of popular kids who hang out in the square next to her parents’ butcher shop every day. Among them is Claudia, or Clau (Irene Ferreiro), a former best friend to Sara who now seems to want nothing to do with her. Growing pains are tough, but the stakes of Piggy are about to be much higher and more brutal than any coming-of-age movie you’ve seen before.

One day, after taking a trip to the local pool to swim (after everyone is gone, to avoid teasing), Sara runs into her bullies: Clau, Maca (Claudia Salas), and Roci (Camille Aguilar), and the results are disastrous for her. The group of girls teases her, and eventually even tries to drown her with a pool net as she’s swimming. There are virtually no witnesses, save for one other man in the pool who watches the whole thing. When the trio is done with their torture, they run away with Sara’s clothes, leaving her to walk all the way home humiliated and in her bathing suit. It’s an awful walk back until Sara comes upon a gruesome scene: her tormentors are kidnapped by the same man who was in the pool with them all. Now the tables are turned, and Clau and the girls are begging Sara for mercy. She responds by waving as the man nods and then drives away, screaming bullies in tow — it is a wild, satisfying scene conclusion. The town starts to take notice that the girls are missing and now the real question the movie wants us to think about comes into focus: will Sara say anything, or let her tormentors suffer?

It’s a deliciously righteous concept, and one that many folks who were bullied as teenagers would happily let end with the wave of Sara’s hand. However, the movie has bigger ideas in mind, and lets the tension of this question build as the situation gets stickier. Along the way to some kind of conclusion, there are concerned parents, Sara’s suspicious and overbearing mother, and unlikely romantic moments between the kidnapper and Sara to contend with. It’s a journey that I was happy to be on, well-made and sincerely empathetic to Sara’s plight, with lovely cinematography to boot. You’re rooting for Sara all the way through, even if the ending isn’t entirely what you’d had in mind. The performances are great as well, with Galán bringing believable teenage angst and desire to Sara — her depiction reminded me of my own teenage self — and Carmen Machi nailing her role as Sara’s demanding, but well-meaning mom.

Piggy surprises and shocks all the way up to its ending. It’s fueled by teenage angst and revenge, keeping you in suspense and invested in this story of sweet, potential revenge. Ultimately, it’s at its best when it takes the time to understand Sara and stick with her no matter what. Come for the story of Sara’s revenge, and stay for the twists and turns along the way.

Piggy
Good

Piggy surprises and shocks all the way up to its ending. It’s fueled by teenage angst and revenge, keeping you in suspense and invested in this story of sweet, potential revenge. Ultimately, it’s at its best when it takes the time to understand Sara and stick with her no matter what. Come for the story of Sara’s revenge, and stay for the twists and turns along the way.