‘Piggy’ is a standout Halloween horror tale — Sightlines

Director Brian De Palma captured the horrors of teenage bullying in 1976’s “Carrie.” Today, Spanish director Carlota Martínez-Pereda’s feature debut, “Piggy,” is an honorable successor.

While Carrie (Sissy Spacek) stood in the middle of a blood-soaked ballroom scene, Sara, the title Piggy, stands in the middle of the road, covered in blood. Carrie uses telekinesis for revenge. Sara (Laura Galán) has a serial killer in her corner.

The film takes place in a Spanish village near the border with Portugal, during the summer. Sara’s parents own the butcher shop and she helps at the counter while her father cuts the meat and her mother tends to the customers. The opening credits show the unsavory reality of a butcher shop, complete with cuts, chops and grinds.

Sara, who is overweight, tries to escape the monotony while wearing headphones and checking Instagram on her cell phone. Much to her horror, some of the so-called cool girls in town walked into the store and took a photo of Sara and her parents, labeling the photos as “The Three Little Pigs”.

Sara endures more taunts when she goes to the village pool to swim. The teenagers laugh at her, and the same girls who posted a picture of Sara’s family on Instagram find Sara in the pool and start taunting her again. They notice a strange man (Richard Holmes) bathing at the same time, and they taunt him and Sara, saying they must be a couple.

Worse still, they use a pool net to cover Sara’s head. Sara panics and nearly drowns, but she eventually dives underwater and escapes, with cinematographer Rita Noriega’s camera following her. Sara isn’t reacting to what she sees at the bottom of the pool, and the camera doesn’t make a big deal of it either. But there’s a weighted man’s body at the bottom of the pool, and there’s blood spurting out.

When Sara finally surfaces, she watches the girls take her clothes, cell phone, towel, and shoes and walk away. Sara starts crying but decides to walk home in her skimpy bikini. She is humiliated, of course, but on the quiet way home she sees a van. And she sees the man who was in the pool. And she sees the cool girls being kidnapped by the strange man. The girls scream for Sara’s help, but Sara just watches. And the strange man takes a long look at Sara, drops some clothes on her on the road and leaves.

Thus begins a twisted tale of torture and murder set in the once sleepy town of Sara, with the parents of the abducted girls demanding to know if Sara saw anything at the pool, and with the authorities wanting to know what Sara did. seen at the pool that day. . (The discovery of the man’s body at the bottom of the pool triggers a frenzy in town.) Sara remains silent.

To say more would be to give away too many plot points. But the film presents itself as a moral choice for Sara: tell the truth or tell the hell about the girls.

As Sara/Piggy, Galán shows great potential. The torture she endures at the hands of the mean girls almost matches that inflicted on those girls. And Martinez-Pereda’s confident direction means she’ll likely be gobbled up by Hollywood as soon as possible.

“Piggy” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It was part of the Fantastic Fest lineup at the recent Austin event, where it won Best Horror Film.

Of all the Halloween movies this year, “Piggy” is one of the best.

It opens October 7 at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, and on October 14 it comes out in a larger version. It’s in Spanish, with English subtitles.

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