Pack, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus takes another road trip that ends in freaky families and nasty monsters...
Taking a long drive until her CD collection runs out, Charlotte (Émilie Dequenne) picks up a hitchhiker, Max (Benjamin Biolay), and the pair find themselves in a small roadside diner called La Spack. After Max goes missing, Charlotte’s road trip goes sour and it turns out La Spack is a nasty place to be.
From the red on black opening credits to the slow paced opening shots of a car travelling down winding foggy roads, The Pack feels like a good horror movie. When we start meeting the characters, including the rocker cool Charlotte and the colourful bit players that fill out the story, it still feels like something special. This good feeling doesn’t last long though as twenty minutes in and everything starts getting familiar, with a messed up family covering up their dark deeds and our lead crying because of the messed up situation she’s found herself in.
From here on in it’s Saw, it’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it’s all those other torturing strangers adventures we’ve all come to enjoy. The maniacs get odder, grim scenes get grislier and the idea of going anywhere off the beaten track ever again becomes even less appealing. Then you find out what this is all for...
About half way through we meet the monsters from the cover and everything reaches another level of grim. We get our explanations of what they are, why the family are feeding them and exactly what's going on. It’s all throw away stuff after this even if there’s a certain level of fun to how the mother of the family handles Charlotte’s escape and nothing really feels all that tight anymore. It still remains a good looking horror and keeps up the creepiness but something about the all too familiar twists and turns made The Pack lose its appeal somewhat and not even Charlotte’s bad girl swagger kept this one as alive as it was at the beginning.
The font in the credits is not very sharp at all and looks almost like it’s bleeding into the dark background. When the movie begins the image isn’t much better either. The colours are all pretty strong but the soft image and the murky feel to the transfer make everything feel a little drab. Close ups and naturally lit shots can actually look quite good but the darker scenes can lose a whole lot of definition and any real detail is generally lost until a light source makes everything better again.
It’s a slow burning track which generates just the right mood and in a very video-nasty eighties fashion, relies on quite an obvious creepy score to make everything a bit more ominous. This almost ghost story score is quite playful and often starts light in the rear speakers only to creep over the top into the fronts to raise the tension.
The sound effects are also surprisingly strong. There’s a scene where Charlotte is dragging a rake along a stone floor and it’s very realistically placed in the track. There’s also a follow up moment with a flame thrower that has a killer presence and of course screams, whimpers and rattling chains have their place and feel as strong as the crisp clear dialogue.
The disc opens with a trailer for The Resident. The movie specific stuff begins with 'Artist At Work: Creating the Pack' (02:06) which has a British artist, Graham Humphreys showing you how he created the DVD cover and the layers that went into it. The only other extra is the trailer (01:06).
The Pack was a fun enough romp through creature based horror but it all got a bit like throwaway by the midway point. The disc has its highs and lows visually but offers an effective audio track when it needs to. Old school video nasty fans might get a bit of a kick out of this one but somehow this all felt a little out of date to me and not in the enjoyable way.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 4th July 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Extras: The Artist at Work: Creating The Pack, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Franck Richard
Cast: Yolande Moreau, Émilie Dequenne, Benjamin Biolay
Length: 80 minutes
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