October 25, 2015

VOD Review: The Pack (2015)

Movies that feature Man vs. Nature in a battle to the death are nothing new. Killer Animal flicks were a big thing back in the 70's and early 80's, and it's a sub-genre that's still going relatively strong today with excellent efforts like The Breed, Burning Bright, The Grey, Red Machine, Prey, and Rogue.

The Pack is a flick that could almost be added to that "Best of" Killer Animals list, if it weren't for some of its more contrived and nonsensical plot elements, many of which left something to be desired.

Still, this is a decent movie that managed to keep us mostly engaged with its intensity and suspenseful atmosphere.

Something is killing the livestock on an isolated Australian farm; and by killing, we mean ripping apart, eviscerating, and tearing it to shreds. It's all so senseless. Tough farmer Adam and his family are struggling with money as it is, and now some damned animal is killing off his livestock? Well he's not going to stand for that! After all, he's got a family to feed. 

Even after finding his livestock dead, fending of creditors who want to foreclose on his farm, and dealing with a bratty daughter that wants to move to the big city because Facebook works better there, Adam refuses to give up on the farm, mainly because of blind pride. He and his family settle in for a nice dinner, where he tells them that they are not going anywhere, and that they'll make ends meet somehow...

Then, the dogs come.

That's right, it's a pack of big, black, mean feral dogs that have been killing livestock and people alike, and now they are descending on the lonely little farm to do the same to Adam and his family. Are they hungry? No, I think they just like to kill. Either way though, they are pretty big and scary, so the chances for the family surviving don't look to good.

Creepy canine antics ensue. 

The plot of this one isn't anything that you haven't seen before. The whole "family trapped and hunted by a bloodthirsty maniac" thing has been done countless times before, only this time, it happens to be in a Killer Animal flick. The Pack is pretty simple and straight-forward in its mechanics; the cast is small; and there are no big surprises in store for you, as a viewer, with this one.

The way that The Pack handles those all-too-familiar plot aspects though, is fantastic. It builds slow, ratchets up the tension and suspense in a natural way, and delivers some pretty exciting (and bloody) action scenes. Things are pretty intense any time the dogs are on-screen, especially when they attack.

And we really liked the way that it ended. We're suckers for cool scenes.

On the negative side of the fence, some of the things that happened in this movie were frustrating as hell. For instance, why didn't they open the window and yell for the Cop to get back in the car instead of standing there watching him look around before the pack of dogs fell upon him, and tore him to shreds? And the convenient plot device which had the Dad crashing into the Cop car, thus leaving (at least potentially) them no working vehicles with which to escape? And how did the Dad survive when the dog attacked him in the truck? Like the feral dog would attack and then just run off, leaving him sitting in in the truck, all bloody and vulnerable? And can't they smell the humans? There was more than one time where someone was hiding (or creeping around), only to have a dog walk by their place of concealment, kind of like a killer would in a Slasher flick. Dear script writer: dogs have keen senses of smell! With the Mom being a vet, you'd think that she'd know that... before she put her kids in a flimsy closet and telling them to be quiet. Like that would work.

The damn poster even says "We can't hide from them." Which is apparently a lie!

This movie was decent enough to where it didn't need to resort to such cheap and easy plot devices to movie it forward.

If you can put aside its more asinine plot elements & devices, then you might just find The Pack to be an intense Thriller that plays like Cujo; only with more dogs, more people, and more Australian accents. But it's not quite as good. This is a straight-up survival movie, with plenty of stalk-and-slash elements thrown in for good measure, and the parts of this movie that did work, worked really well.

We liked it for what it was, and when it finally sees release outside of Australia, it's well-worth a rental if you like Killer Animal flicks.


The Pack is available now on Blu-ray & VOD.


Anna Lise Phillips is noice.

1 comment :

  1. Going to watch this one soon, just got done with Green Inferno. After a 3 year wait, I have to say its not bad. Looks like they added a in credits sequel tie in, and edited the hell out of it, waiting for the super uncut version to follow. Oh wait...

    I was going to talk about dogs... Anywho, about the smell thing, um, yes they has a crazy insane even sense of smell, but like uh, the whole house smells like humans. There are dirty clothes about, shity smelly bathrooms(to a dog I mean), so I don't think that the dogs would have been able to make out a live person inside a closet full of clothes.
    So if you yelled at the screen mostly for that, you might have too apologize to it, lol.