Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Pack (2010)

Rule number I forget in horror: Don't leave someone behind when they've "disappeared". It will come back to haunt you, or the people responsible for his "disappearance" will get you. That's what happens in the French horror film "The Pack."

Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne) picks up a hitchhiker named Max (Benjamin Biolay) and they go to a local truck-stop diner. They running into a gang of degenerate bikers (is there any other kind in movies?), only to have said bikers get scared off by the owner of the restaurant La Spack (Jean-Pierre Jeunet regular Yolande Moreau.) When Max doesn't return after a trip to the bathroom, Charlotte finds herself in the clutches of Spack, who turns out to be Max's mother-and who feeds people to ground dwelling, humanoid flesh eaters.

I won't deny that for what it is, "The Pack" manages to be fun albeit unspectacular. It's got a nasty and welcome streak of black humor that doesn't go overboard into a horror/comedy route, which is kind of refreshing. It's also capably directed, has some good performances (especially from Moreau, who seems to be having a blast as the villain), some decent atmosphere, and some choice gore. Also, Phillipe Nahon shows up wearing a shirt you've probably seen online that says "I Fuck on the First Date", which automatically bumps this up half a star.

However, as I said, the end result feels kind of unspectacular. That's mostly because of the fact that most of this is either predictable or familiar, and none of it is particularly suspenseful or scary. You know from the get go that La Spack is up to no good, what with her threatening the bikers with a gun and coming off as loony. We also get the requisite nods to other, better horror movies, including a near end siege straight of of "Night of the Living Dead" (or if you want to be obscure, Robert Voskanian's sole directorial effort "The Child"), and yet more references to the likes of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." That reminds me: do we really need another visual tribute to the door slamming from that movie?

As it is, "The Pack" is far from a classic, and not in the higher tier of the recent wave of French horror. However, it's disposable, mostly unoffensive fun that's not spectacular but does a good enough job, and would make a fun triple bill with "The Horde" and "Frontier(s)."

Rating: 6/10

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