‘Piggy’ Movie Review [Sundance 2022]: Carlota Pereda Puts a Fresh Spin on the Social Outcast Revenge Horror Flick

Piggy puts an innovative spin on the horror revenge movie. Writer/director Carlota Pereda adapts her short film into a feature film that explores the result of bullying. Piggy takes a psychological look at the horrors of basing a person’s worth on their physical appearance while emphasizing the importance of kindness.

‘Piggy’ is a revenge film against fat-shaming bullies

'Piggy' Laura Galán as Sara standing in the road covered in blood
Laura Galán as Sara | Sundance Institute/Jorge Fuembuena

Sara (Laura Galán) is an introverted teenager who typically doesn’t talk much. Roci (Camille Aguilar), Maca (Claudia Salas), and Claudia (Irene Ferreiro) are a clique of popular girls. They make Sara’s life increasingly difficult and bully her over her weight. Sara tries to ignore it, but it clearly hurts her feelings and gets on her nerves.

It’s summer vacation and the weather is beautiful. Sara decides to go to the pool to enjoy her holiday. However, the girls happen to walk by and begin relentlessly bullying her from afar. On the long walk home, Sara witnesses them in the clutches of a mysterious man (Richard Holmes). She must decide if she’s willing to help them or leave them to die.

Writer/director Carlota Pereda touches on the importance and power of kindness

Piggy opens with Sara working in her family’s butcher shop. She watches popular kids socialize outside while she has to stay inside. However, her peers aren’t the only ones harassing her. Her mother (Carmen Machi) and father (Julián Valcárcel) also treat her poorly, constantly degrading her self-worth.

Sara continues to look at social media and is the target of cyberbullying. The girls repeatedly body shame her by calling her “piggy” and making other offensive jokes about her appearance. The killer is the only person to not judge her for her appearance. His kindness toward her grows into infatuation, as Sara further explores the notion of her own sexuality.

Piggy presents a moral dilemma. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Sara’s choices, her journey remains captivating. The decision isn’t so easy for her, as the events that unfold quickly have quite an impact on her. Sara turns to unhealthy, sugary foods to deal with these events. Will she come out on the other end of these events a stronger or weaker person? It’s a coming-of-age story of sorts within the framework of a horror revenge movie.

‘Piggy’ is a solid horror revenge film

'Piggy' Claudia Salas as Maca, Camille Aguilar as Roci, and Irene Ferreiro as Claudia wearing pool attire
Claudia Salas as Maca, Camille Aguilar as Roci, and Irene Ferreiro as Claudia | Sundance Institute/Jorge Fuembuena

Galán’s performance as Sara is particularly nuanced. Her character is soft-spoken, although the lack of dialogue isn’t an issue. She appropriately digs into every psychological corner of Sara. Galán taps into the emotional hurt that her character endures and the ways in which she comes to terms with years worth of trauma.

Piggy is a horror movie that doesn’t shy away from the violence and gore in its third act. Otherwise, it’s relatively light on the carnage, emphasizing Sara’s journey. Pereda visually depicts this horror revenge tale with style. Rita Noriega’s cinematography provides a distinct, throwback quality that enhances the film’s tone and atmosphere.

Piggy has a distinct message that adequately builds upon the original short film. Pereda’s feature puts a fascinating twist on the horror revenge genre that is equal parts unique and gripping. Some subplots are a bit flimsy and aren’t fully explored, but Pereda’s screenplay offers plenty for audiences to dig their teeth into. Piggy is a gritty psychological horror revenge film that is both intimate and disturbing.

RELATED: ‘Palm Trees and Power Lines’ Movie Review [Sundance 2022]: Lily McInerny’s Performance Stuns in Story About the Cycle of Toxic Relationships