Huff (2012) – By Nic Brown

All it takes is one line: “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in….”, and most people will recognize the story of the Three Little Pigs. Writer Cort Howell decided to take the story we all know and make it work in the real world. Instead of using werewolves or some other evil creature, Cort went with something worse, a human monster. “Huff” is essentially the story of the three little pigs, made frighteningly real when the ‘big bad wolf’ is a drug dealer named Huff (Charlie O’Connell) and the ‘little pigs’ are his three stepdaughters.

The film opens eight years in the past with Huff doing what seems to be his Christian duty by having a Bible study with his wife Lorelei (Elina Madison) and her three daughters. It quickly becomes apparent that Huff subscribes to a unique interpretation of the Holy text and uses it to demean the position of the women in his life and justify his abusive treatment of the girls and their mother. When Lorelei tries to stop him, he reminds her that she, and her daughters, can leave anytime they want, not that they have anywhere to go with no money or prospects in their isolated small town.

Flash forward to the present. Lorelei is still with Huff, and her daughters are now teens. Brixi (Marie Bollinger) is the oldest and the one ready to oppose Huff in order to protect her mother and sisters. The middle daughter, Styx (Jenna Stone), is more interested in her boyfriend Woody than anything else, and finally there is Shay (Elly Stefanko) the most innocent and naive of the lot. Huff hasn’t changed. If anything he’s gotten worse as he tries to get enough money together to head to Mexico with his mistress, Woody’s mom, Laci (Natasha Alam). To get the money, Huff cuts a deal with a big time drug lord. He’s going to make a big buy and use the proceeds to change his life. To that end, he scrapes up over $100,000.

After Lorelei comes home from her job as a stripper and finds that Huff has sexually assaulted Brixi (not for the first time) she snaps. Having found his stash of cash for the drug buy, Lorelei splits it into three backpacks and gives one to each of her daughters. She intends for them to make a better life for themselves while she stays behind to deal with Huff.

The girls leave. When the drug lord’s thugs come to collect, Huff discovers the cash is missing. Now we learn just how dangerous a big bad wolf Huff really is as he kills the two henchmen and then Lorelei. Knowing the girls have his cash, Huff sets out on a blood drenched quest to get back his money and take revenge on the girls who have disrespected him.

“Huff” is a twisted tale of murder and the title character is frightening. Charlie O’Connell, who’s known for playing nice guys and jocks, turns in an excellent performance as a remorseless killing machine. To add to his style, writer Cort gave Huff’s character asthma and the stress of his psychotic rage invariably sends him into frequent attacks. So before Huff can kill, he has to puff on his inhaler. This becomes Huff’s trademark and it manages to make an asthma inhaler into an object of menace as the audience knows what happens after Huff puffs.

The film does suffer from what one might call victim stupidity. This is where the characters, despite knowing the danger, are drawn like moths to the flame back to Huff’s home. He never has to go that far to track down his victims as they always seem to make a false move or bad choice that leads them back within his reach. Still the fun and original take that director Paul Morrell and writer Cort Howell bring to the tale of the three little pigs make this a film well worth checking out. While O’Connell definitely steals the show as the psychotic, asthma inhaler sucking, bible quoting killer. Madison, Bollinger, Stone, and Stefanko, all turn in solid performances as the targets of Huff’s rage.

So if you’re ready for something different from the usual chainsaw/machete wielding killer in the woods, check out “Huff”, but watch out or Huff may puff and do much worse than just blow your house down.