Tuesday, December 20, 2016
DIRECTOR: Carles Torrens
WRITER: Jeremy Slater
John Ross Bowie
Seth is a veterinarian's assistant who while riding the bus on his way to work one day see's a girl that he went to high school with that he had a crush on. When he decides to start up a conversation with her, his obsession begins to grow for her. After going to her work and the places that she hangs out, he eventually strikes and kidnaps her and holds her captive. His mission is to save her but will she be the one saving him?
I remember when the gorgeous looking poster for Pet was initially released. I hadn't heard much about the movie itself other than it playing at a few horror film festivals early and midway through the year. Unlike some of the other films that I've reviewed quite recently, I hadn't heard much hype behind the film. It wasn't until I had begun listening to Horror Movie Podcast where one of the guys on the podcast talked about how much he enjoyed the film. At this point, I was sold on it.
Looking at any of the production stills for Pet. You'd be mistaken for merely thinking this low-budget indie horror movie is a 'kidnap and held captive tale.' The poster for the movie also calls it a love story. Most will be smart enough to notice that the 'Love Story' tagline is a little tongue in cheek or on the nose, but this may also turn some viewers off the film as they may go in expecting some sort of half-cocked love story. This is anything but, Pet is a much darker entity.
When I went into Pet, I was ready for your run-of-the-mill stalker and obsession flick. The film didn't take long at all in getting to the incredible uncomfortableness. The film dives almost immediately into introducing us to Dominic Monaghan's Seth. This young guy who is incredibly awkward and is probably overlooked by the girls he fancies. This is apparent when Ksenia Solo's Holly tries to hold a conversation with him but quickly flees as she feels as uncomfortable as us, the audience. The exchange is sour.
This sets into motion your typical dorky guy becoming obsessed with a beautiful girl. Holly goes for the more shaggy-haired bartender and has a female roommate who is covered in tatts. She is also pretty punk rock. Seth would never fit into her scene. As he starts to show up at her work and her ex-boyfriend's bar, the movie continues to have an uneasiness about it. When Seth finally strikes at around the 30-minute mark and kidnaps Holly, this is where things take a sinister turn. Things begin to unravel, and Pet becomes something more than what I expected.
It's at around the halfway point in which Pet shifts its gears and becomes an entirely different beast. Everything you think you know about where this is going or what to expect, changes in one of my favourite reveals that I've seen in a horror film in 2016. The movie goes from dark to pitch black. The film is never grand or epic in its shift in tone and stays quite restrained, but it's such a twisted moment that I didn't ever see coming, and I enjoyed every single second of it.
I've seen quite a few horror fans, and reviewers claim that once the movie gets to its third act, it loses steam and fizzles out. I disagree completely. The final scene in the film is one dark and messed up moment that I thought was the perfect way to finish off this twisted little tale. I can't sing Pet enough praises about how much fun I had with this film. I'm sure some people will pick up on where this movie is heading, but for me, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The acting is stand out in Pet. Dominic Monaghan as Seth is a talented actor. He does dorky very well. He also was successful at making me feel uncomfortable in the early scenes. However, this is Ksenia Solo's show. I've never seen her in anything else, but as our caged victim Holly, she goes to some real dark places. If Pet doesn't show how truly talented and amazing this actress is, I don't know what will. She steals this film, and I'm now an instant fan of hers. I hope she at some point gets nominated for her work in this movie.
Lastly, the only bad things that I can say about Pet and what bugged me about this film, all fall back on moments that either felt like a plot hole or didn't pan out within the film. The fact that our character is kidnapped yet no one ever comes looking for Holly seemed a little bit odd. We also have a moment towards the end of the film that would usually spell doom for most people, but this character manages to survive it, it also seemed a bit far-fetched. These few moments that had me questioning the story weren't enough to kill the overall experience.
DEATH TOLL: 7
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A German Shepard is euthanised.
- A guy is punched in the face.
- A woman's nail breaks off.
- A woman stomps on a rat.
- Someone is imprisoned in a cage.
- A man is killed in a car crash.
- A woman is stabbed in the eye with a shard of glass.
- A man has his throat slashed.
- A skater is strangled.
- A woman bashes her own face against a cage.
- Someone is hit in the head with a torch and stabbed.
- A man has their head crushed with a cinder block.
- Someone cuts their own finger off.
- Someone's throat is slashed.
Pet is a film that I think everyone should see. It deserves to be seen. The movie plays like two different films. What starts out as an obsessive, stalker story slowly descends into something far darker than I could ever imagine. The movie throws out one of the most ingenious little curveballs of the year and we are blessed with an award-worthy performance from Ksenia Solo. If you get a chance to watch this movie, do it, you'll either love it or hate it, but it should be seen by horror fans.