Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Review - The Pack (2010 - Dir. Franck Richard)

I saw this about ten months ago and it is one of those films that sticks in your head and you have to see it again. So I was quite excited with this DVD release. 
The Pack (original title: La Meute) starts off with an atmospheric shot of a car driving down a road in the mist. Right, that's me sold on the idea. Anything misty and atmospheric and I'm there. In the car is chain smoking grunger Charlotte, played by the gorgeous Émilie Dequenne (Brotherhood of the Wolf - coming soon to Blu-ray). She is on a road trip for as long as her CD collection lasts and picks up a hitchhiker. If I was in a film there's no way in a million years I'd pick up a hitchhiker. It's bound to end in tears. And end it tears it does, but not as you would expect.

The film contains a large lady intent on hitting people with a piece of nail encrusted wood, a bisexual biker gang who all have an amusing little way of introducing themselves when we first meet them, zombie miners who are partial to blood, a strange 'milking/feeding' machine of indeterminate usage and most importantly there is a shack in it. Shacks are great. If that doesn't whet your appetite I don't know what will.

The bikers are a tad ropey in the acting department but everyone else performs admirably. Émilie Dequenne is spot on as the heroine and is probably the best advert for smoking there's been in a while. Philippe Nahon (Haute Tension/Switchblade Romance) makes an appearance as a retired cop who adds to the strange atmosphere. Yolande Moreau (Amelie) gets most of the best bits of black humour and is perfect as a backwoods farmer type. Plus she looks a bit like Pam Ferris with a bit of a face stretch. Which is a treat.

There is some gore within the film; the undead miners have a tendency to punch straight through people. Don't get your hopes up with the miners: they look nothing like the Northern National Union of Mineworkers miners that are probably in your head. They are more like a Guillermo del Toro creation,  eyeless, noseless with large lower canines.

I think what brings me back to The Pack, and will continue to bring me back, is the atmosphere. Misty, rainy and bleak. The ending, shot in a cornfield is gorgeous and laden with lovely fog. Just what I like. (For more misty action see The Fog Season posts: The FogSilent Hill and The Mist.)

If you like this you could also try:
Pan's Labyrinth, Castle Freak, Zombie Flesh Eaters.

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