I love South Korean movies as of late (okay, except for "D-Wars.") From the movies of Chan Wook-Park (the "Vengeance" trilogy, "Thirst") to the films of Jeen-woon Kim ("The Good, the Bad and the Weird", "A Tale of Two Sisters" and "I Saw the Devil") and Joon-ho Bong ("The Host", "Mother"), this country seems to have my heart when it comes to movies. Well, not every movie is going to have my heart, such Jeong-won Shin's tongue in cheek "Chawz", which is amusing enough, but not as fun as it should be.
In a small mountainside village, tourists seem to be vanishing? So, what could it be? Why, it's a humungous wild boar, who due to hunters killing all the animals, has acquired a taste for human flesh. Now, a cop with a pregnant wife, a vengeful farmer, a famous hunter and a girl who wants to be the next Jane Goodall are among those who must stop it.
If it weren't for the giant wild boar, "Chawz" wouldn't feel like a horror film at all. Much of it is played like a tongue in cheek homage to "Jaws" (right down to the title) with a bit of "Razorback" thrown in for good measure. The film is pretty well directed, with amusing enough characters and situations (the highlight being the girl trying to film our intrepid pig hunters), and a plot that's mostly easy to follow. Also, it's nice to see a genre film of this type offer some characterization instead of the usual "kids get killed off by giant monster" movie. Oh, and yes, the boar itself is pretty awesome.
Unfortunately, the humor is very hit and miss, with several gags (including one during the end credits) that left me either rolling my eyes of mumbling to myself "well, that joke bombed." It's also way too long at two hours. Granted, it at least gave us some decent characterization, but this is not the kind of movie that should be two hours long. The comic tone tends to collide with the more horrific elements of the movie on a few occasions, which is jarring to say the least. At one moment, the pig is on a rampage, and the next people are cracking jokes.
"Chawz" is a decent little movie, but it could have been a bit better. As a whole, it's certainly not at the top of the South Korean movie litter, but it doesn't want to be either. It's an amusing little romp, and nothing more.