Long Pigs

April 6, 2007
By Paul Pritchard
4/54/54/54/5

Two desperate filmmakers began a documentary about a cannibalistic-serial killer. What follows is their actual footage.

  • Directed By: Nathan Hynes and Chris Power
  • Written By: Nathan Hynes and Chris Power
  • Country: Canada
  • Released: 2007
  • Running Time: 81 Min
  • Links: Official Site
  • Horror, Reviews

Long Pigs DVD At what point does a documentary filmmaker cease to be a neutral observer and become complicit in the crimes on which he is reporting?

Long Pigs is the story of Anthony McAlistar (Anthony Alviano), an articulate and easy-going character who also happens to be a serial killing cannibal. It is also the story of a pair of young filmmakers (played by Nathan Hynes and Chris Power) who set out to make a documentary about the – as yet uncaught – McAlistar.

Initially nervous around McAlistar the two filmmakers are put increasingly at ease by his friendly and open manner and even start to buy into some of his justifications. And, as the filmmakers relax, McAlistar starts to draw them into his world and involve them in his activities so that they increasingly become accessories rather than mere witnesses.

This is underlined by a couple of interviews that are intercut with the footage of McAlistar. Superficially, these interviews provide a clinical view of McAlistar’s behaviour and a counterpoint to his claims, but over the course of them the extent to which the documentary makers are covering up for their subject becomes increasingly apparent.

Although there are a couple of quite graphic scenes, Long Pigs is not an overly gory film. The horror derives largely from the sheer banality of McAlistar’s life. He’s no Hannibal Lecter, just some slightly overweight guy who parks cars for a living and eats people for pleasure.

The writer/director team of Nathan Hynes and Chris Power do a great job here of constantly but unobtrusively bringing McAlistar’s worldview to the fore. In the same way that McAlistar draws the filmmakers into his world in order to gain acceptance, Hynes and Power draw the audience into his world to – very effectively – horrify us.

As the film progresses and the filmmakers begin challenging McAlistar on his constantly changing justifications, he becomes increasingly uncomfortable as he realises the extent to which he has incriminated himself. The film’s ending is hinted at in the opening titles but Hynes and Power do manage to incorporate a very effective twist into the grimly inevitable climax.

At the start of this review I asked about the point at which a documentary filmmaker ceases to be a neutral observer, and this is the main question that is explored in this film. But it is not the only one, as a short coda serves to amplify.

It’s not just young and inexperienced reporters that end up exploiting real horrors for their own ends. If anything, the mainstream and mass media can be far worse because they should know better. But still, every time something happens, they leap onto the bandwagon, wallowing in the depravity of it all while affecting an air of – entirely hypocritical – moral superiority.

Well written, well acted and packed with frighteningly believable characters, Long Pigs is one of the most intelligent and genuinely disturbing horror films that I’ve seen in a long time. It is also a film that very effectively asks the audience to think seriously about the way in which the media blurs the line between reportage and exploitation.

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8 Responses to Long Pigs

  1. Chris Power on April 19, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Wow Paul! Youre certainly the kind of audience we worked so hard to please with our movie. Sincere thanks for the flattering and perceptive comments keep spreadin the word Long Pigs ( trailers at http://www.longpigsmovie.com ) will be unleashed on the general public after our festival run ends around Halloween. Feel free to contact us any time. Love the site!
    -cheers
    Chris Power and Nathan Hynes
    creators of Long Pigs

  2. Chris Power on June 5, 2007 at 3:48 am

    Holy Sh*t! Long Pigs a horror feature from Torontos Chris Power and Nathan Hynes won best feature and Anthony Alviano took home the best actor award at Mockfest in L.A. yesterday! Okay, so it wasnt a huge festival by anyones standards, but it was especially nice to see Anthony Alviano get singled out for his outstanding performance. Way to go dude, now get a computer! Thanks to any and all who helped us out so generously with the flick.
    (Dammit, that was the speech we should have given instead of our unprepared mumbles)
    L.P. plays next in St.Johns on the longest day of the year, June 21st which in Newfoundland means light till 10:30 should be a blast!
    -cheers
    cp
    http://www.longpigsmovie.com
    http://the-reviewer.net/2007/05/03/long-pigs

  3. Peter on December 23, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Hi there, I just want to know where I can get this movie on dvd. I am living in sweden and I really think the trailers seem very scary and I just cant wait to see the whole film. Please anyone, can you tell me where I can buy this?

    /Peter

  4. Nicole on February 20, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Canadian! Chris, Nathan and the film are Canadian

  5. Paul on February 20, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Oops. Thanks for letting me know, Nicole this is now fixed.

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  7. Film at Eleven » Motor City Nightmares on April 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    [...] Long Pigs will be screening tonight at 8:25pm. This screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Nathan Hynes and Chris Power, the writer and director of the film. [...]

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