In the middle of a snowy no man’s land, Charlotte picks up Max, a hitchhiker; they stop in a truck-stop restaurant, and when Max doesn’t come back from the bathroom, Charlotte starts looking for him in vain. She decides to return during the night but gets kidnapped by the bartender, La Spack, who turns out to be Max’s mother and needs to feed her kids, ‘The pack’, a bunch of blood lusting ghouls. Charlotte now faces a terrifying reality: these ghouls are already dead… and hungry. Alone and in the middle of nowhere, she quickly realizes… she’s next on the menu
A new thriller horror film directed by Franck Richard straight out of France / Belgium area makes it way to our living rooms with another round of 10 reasons not to visit foreign countries. Of course, this film is actually based in a foreign country but I’m starting to think Americans are gonna do less traveling with the number of overseas films based on psychotic inhabitants and login winding roads. The Pack has a gritty visceral feel that is pretty in line with the new modern French films coming out these days. This is a good thing as American audiences are really expecting more coming at them than less these days.
The movie originally titled “La meute” stars Yolande Moreau who plays La Spack, the crazy bar keeper, Émilie Dequenne who plays Charlotte our innocent troubled youth who is just driving until her CDS run out and Benjamin Biolay as the enigma Max. There’s a couple things probably to be learned without even getting into the story. This is…don’t pick up hitchers especially in backwoods roads and don’t snoop around in areas that are telling you in your gut not to.
If we can learn those 2 things, there probably would be alot less horror films to offer….so maybe it’s better that we scratch those ideas and let it ride out the ways our filmmakers intended.
The Pack takes a turn for the interesting when La Spack begins to force funnel in some unknown liquid into Charlotte which I still don’t know what it is. This strangely European style film takes a narrative change by introducing some ground dwelling creatures which we can only guess are some form of evil the earth has regurgitated back up. We are explained this in dialog but left in the cold on the whole supernatural element of it. We are left even more in the cold on what the scenes leading up to it had anything to do with the confrontation.
While the film does include subtitles, there was holes in the story which I’m still not sure I entirely understood. With this kind of approach, I felt there was more history behind things that was never fully explained leaving on one hand an interesting monster movie of sorts but on the other a confused plot that maybe tried too hard to stay enigmatic while assuming that the audience would read everything the way the director saw things. Acting performances were not the highlight here but it gets points for at least trying to introduce a new concept of horror and combining a few styles as well. As mentioned, I enjoyed the gritty cold feeling “The Pack” delivers and thought the “pack” creatures were effectively done. It’s not a very gory film and is not designed to be frightening.
I’m not sure there was much of a story here and specifically not much in the way of protagonist rebellion that US audiences are expecting. You almost get the feeling of a lesser done Resident Evil with no Alice to contribute any action scenes. “The Pack” is original, unique and different but fails in terms of scares, surprises or a feeling of resolve. French films are probably noted for there uniqueness and lack of American derivatives so for that the film will satisfy viewers. Will it leave you with a memorable experience that you can return to later? not likely.
The Pack (2010)