MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD alterate shot

Fantasia Film Festival Review: MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD

Films detailing a character’s descent into madness are always a tricky game. If done right, you get TAXI DRIVER or FALLING DOWN, and if you don’t succeed, you get a completely disjointed film that loses its viewers when the tone of the film makes its switch. Thankfully, the Sean Pierce, Zach Harris and Kevin Cline-directed MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD falls more towards the former, giving an excellent look at the deterioration of a man’s grasp on things, featuring some of the funniest moments in a long time, as well as genuinely shocking and affecting its audience too.

Following a character in which we never find out his name, MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD begins its journey with an optimistic look at a normal, everyday man, one that wants to get in shape, meet a nice girl and just do what normal people do. He drives to his parents’ home to celebrate the birthday of his childhood dog, and when we discover that the dog is set to be put to sleep, the film gives its viewers a scene that feels genuinely moving, with the man crying to his dog. Soon after leaving, the film’s downward spiral begins, starting with getting a final warning at work (a butcher shop) for accidentally looking at a customer’s breasts, and while he is at home waiting for an online order of sandwiches, he’s sent an email from his boss, detailing how he’s changed his mind and is now firing the man.

The breaking point in the character, after a day of saying goodbye to his dog, getting in trouble at work, accidentally getting hit in the face and so on, doesn’t come from the firing, but when the sandwiches fail to arrive, and the person in charge of the sandwich service is less than helpful. It’s that final straw that breaks the character, and sends him straight into losing his mind, complete with shaving his head and using his old key to break into his work at steal multiple bags of meat. While this may seem like an odd setup, and don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious at times, where the character and his emotional stability goes from there is anything but humorous, it’s realistic and almost scary. Inspired by having tons of meat now, the man makes it his mission to go around and give free meat to the less fortunate, and instead of being appreciative, the majority of the people act negatively to his goodwill, instead yelling at him, and in one case, jumping him, sending him directly into full on Travis Bickle mode.

It’s an interesting character to follow, the one we’re given, and it’s easy to see why he would snap, there are just so many things that go wrong for the guy in a single day. What makes the film so affecting and powerful, is a brave and fearless performance by co-writer and co-director Kevin Cline (not the one you’re thinking of). At no point, does Cline’s performance seem over the top or “acted”, as a viewer, you’re glued to the screen and completely enthralled by the character and Cline’s performance, the guy can definitely hold his own and has the acting chops to prove it. A full on force of nature, MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD is a gem of a discovery, and a film that screams in primal rage, grabbing you by the collar and forcing you to watch its lead lose his mind, little by little.

Meathead Goes Hogwild from Festival Fantasia on Vimeo.