You don’t need a gory genre flick to tell you that bullying is bad but those same gory genre flicks are exactly where you can live vicariously through fictional characters acting out all your darkest revenge fantasies. Carlota Pereda’s Piggy (Cerdita) is that very revenge story your bruised, bullied heart yearns for.
Written and directed by Carlota Pereda, Piggy (Cerdita) celebrated its World Premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival as part of the festival’s Midnight section because it’s illegal in Utah to play a movie this grim and twisted during polite hours. That’s not actually true, but it’s fun to believe that some movies strike a chord so deep inside our primal urge for payback that they can only be played during that short window when all the world’s asleep and you’re left with your own dark thoughts to guide you.
“…the revenge story your bruised, bullied heart yearns for.”
Teenage life isn’t easy for Sara (Laura Galán). She’s forced to work day and night at her family’s butcher shop, and even when she carves out time for herself to go swimming, she’s ruthlessly bullied by everyone in town. Strangers torment her, her mother talks down to her, and her childhood friends have become her most vicious harassers. All because she isn’t conventionally attractive. Bullshit, right? But that’s the way the world works sometimes. If you’ve ever been in that position I’m sure you’ve begged the universe for a new life, or for someone to swoop in and give your bullies a taste of their own medicine. That miracle never comes but for Sara, the call is answered.
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At her lowest moment, after a steady barrage of cruelty, Sara witnesses several of her bullies being kidnapped. Less than an hour ago, these girls nearly drowned her in a public swimming pool before stealing her clothing, and now they are begging for her help. Before Sara can even think of calling anyone, the kidnapper (Richard Holmes) gives Sara clothes to cover herself on her walk back home. It’s a confusing moment for her and she doesn’t know how to process it. This is the first person that has shown her any affection and because of that, Sara lets him go. She doesn’t say anything to the police, and she doesn’t say anything to her parents because, she believes, she’s in love.
Sara is bullied so mercilessly that you want her to exact cold, brutal revenge. If Piggy instead became a vengeance picture that took Sara on a gun-toting path of destruction, cutting down every cruel bastard that had wronged her, you’d be absolutely fine with it. There is no one in Sara‘s life that shows her an ounce of kindness and no one watching would fault her for tipping the scales and taking justice into her own hands. And in a sense, that’s exactly what happens. Because we’re given such a grisly glimpse into this poor girl’s everyday life, we forgive her immediately for making such a grievous decision.
Very rarely do you see a character make an out-and-out “evil” choice that you’re 100% onboard with. Not only that, she makes the choice you would have made for her! The comparison isn’t exactly apt but it’s not unlike the raw need for retribution that you feel in rape-revenge films when your tortured lead paints the town red with her attackers’ blood. In a cruel twist of fate, Sara is given the power to be judge, jury, and executioner and you want it for her.
Wrapped up in a pitch-black coming-of-age story about that intoxicating feeling of first-love, Piggy is a cathartic and suspenseful tale of comeuppance shot straight from cupid’s arrow. The heart wants what it wants and after years of abuse, the heart just wants someone that isn’t going to hurt you more. It’s about as unconventional as unconventional relationships can get but Sara and her secret beau are so sweet together that you almost forget that one of them is a cold-blooded killer with an appetite for teenage girls. Not exactly what you call husband material but I’ll be damned if I didn’t want Sara to run off and live happily ever after with this sadistic monster.
Of course, Piggy is more than an adorable love story between a murderer and his teenage bride. It’s also a tense cat-and-mouse game between Sara and an entire community that is suspicious of her. The police and the families of the missing girls are desperate for answers and if Sara doesn’t stay one step ahead of them all, her one chance at true love (and revenge! Let’s not forget about revenge) will be gone. Writer/director Carlota Pereda brilliantly juggles Sara’s conundrum, without ever losing sight of the horror hiding in plain sight. Piggy turns your moral compass upside down in search of a happy ending to Sara‘s sad story. It’s a thriller that’s thrilling, a love story that’s lovely, and a revenge flick that’ll make your tortured teenage soul feel rightfully avenged.
“Piggy turns your moral compass upside down in search of a happy ending to Sara’s sad story.”
Carlota Pereda’s Piggy (Cerdita) celebrated its World Premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Click HERE to follow all of our Sundance 2022 coverage and be sure to let us know what you would do if you had the opportunity to give your bullies a taste of their own medicine over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.