Director – Carles Torrens
Cast – Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Da’Vone McDonald, Nathan Parsons, Janet Song, Sean Blakemore
Release Year – 2016
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Pet is the newest film from Apartment 413 director Carles Torrens and The Lazarus Effect writer Jeremy Slater. Am American/Spanish production, it debuted at SXSW 2016 and was released to one (yes, one) US theater in 2016 where it sold a whopping $70 worth of tickets. Torrens and Slater abandon the supernatural scene and instead deliver what amounts to a crazy love story stemming from our obsession with social media. Pet starts off just fine and manages to creep out the viewer during its first act, but once things get going the story begins to lose itself. With too many twists for its own good, it is obvious why this flick was only released in one theater.
Dominic Monaghan stars as Seth, a lonely man whose desperation for love gets the best of him when he bumps into an hold high school crush, Holly (Ksenia Solo). When she shuts down his advances he develops a terrifying obsession over her, and her lack of interest in him leaves him no choice but ot kidnap her and throw her in a cage. Seth finally has what he wants, and this complacency leaves him vulnerable to the terrible things his victim has planed for him.
The story kicks off by developing Seth and the creepy habits he has. After getting turned down by Holly he finds her online profile and uses it to gain insider information on her whereabouts and relationship status. These scenes are genuinely creepy, as they are a realistic possibility that occurs in our present day. Seth will become so bothersome to Holly that he will annoy you and become an unlikable character. The kidnapping happens 32 minutes into the film, and despite building a solid cage for her the location he uses leaves him vulnerable to being caught. This adds some tension to the story, but what really ups the ante is when the tables are turned. There is a twist that occurs about halfway through, and it tastes the viewer into second guessing where they thought the film was heading. I found this twist an interesting one. What is unfortunate about it is that the writing didn’t blow this up into something spectacular. Instead, you wind up disliking both characters. Once that happens you lose interesting the story, hoping they both die so you at least get some kind of gratification from that. As mentioned earlier, the story has too many twists for its own good.
Carles Torrens direction is fair, and he at least makes this a visually appealing flick. He delivers dark and gloomy atmosphere, and this aids in making his locations more engaging than they should be. The acting performances are fair, with Dominic Monaghan doing a stellar job at delivering the creep. His performance is really the only enjoyable element to the film. There are kills in this flick, but they are OK at best. We do see some decent gore during one of the kills, but there aren’t enough kills to make up for the mess of a story you must deal with. I would have been more forgiving had I been given more horror.
Overall, Pet is a film that tries too hard and doesn’t lead anywhere thanks to a convoluted story. It looks good visually, but these looks are deceiving.