This mystery thriller set in the Australian outback revolves around a ferocious 500-kilogram feral boar – or razorback. It’s essentially Jaws with a pig . . .
The rhino-sized boar attacks a lonely homestead near the outback town of Gamulla, wounding Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr) and making off with his infant grandson.
The old man is put on trial for the murder of the baby but is acquitted for lack of evidence and becomes obsessed with proving the creature exists and hunting it down.
Flash forward a few years, and American animal rights activist Beth Winters (Judy Morris) arrives in Gamulla to film a television report about the slaughter of kangaroos for pet food.
Beth encounters redneck brothers Benny (Chris Haywood) and Dicko (David Argue) Baker – who hunt kangaroos for the PetPak slaughterhouse and cannery – who run her off the road and attempt to rape her.
When, however, the razorback turns up looking for lunch, they drive off and leave her behind to be torn apart and eaten by the monster boar.
A few months later, Beth’s husband, Carl (Gregory Harrison) travels to Gamulla to investigate the disappearance of his pregnant wife.
Trying to befriend Dicko and Benny to get information, Carl joins them on a kangaroo hunt. When he becomes nauseated at their violence, he is shot in the knee and left in the wilderness by the demented brothers who tell him to wait and not go “walkabout”.
He has a nightmare and runs off, delirious, into the night.
At a waterhole, he climbs a windmill for safety. In the morning, a herd of boars – including the razorback – topples the windmill and Carl goes a little mad.
He then goes walkabout in the film’s dullest segment, as he staggers for minutes on end through surreal landscapes and some singularly unimpressive special effects imagery. He ends up at the homestead of animal researcher Sarah Cameron (Arkie Whiteley), who tells Jake that Winters has seen the razorback.
Jake goes off in search of the beast but Dicko and Benny break his kneecaps and he is killed by the razorback.
Carl then seeks revenge on the Baker brothers for his wife’s mistreatment and – only by chance – faces the razorback in the film’s moderately exciting finale at the PetPak cannery while exacting revenge on Dicko for molesting Beth.
Razorback was the feature debut of Russell Mulcahy, a young Australian who began shooting rock music clips in the mid-1970s and was established as one of the world’s leading makers of music videos by the early 80s.
Considering that the full-size animatronic razorback failed to work properly and is seen for only a couple of seconds, it’s a tribute to Mulcahy and his team that the film works as well as it does.