Saturday, 25 March 2017

Pet


Dominic Monaghan is one of those actors who seemingly never really took off. After his career had a massive launch with big parts in The Lord of The Rings and TV’s Lost, you would expect him to be huge by now. That’s the sort of start any actor would want. But as an avid nature lover, he’s focused most of his time on the environment – even fronting his own documentary series, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, for the past 5 years. 2016 brought the return of Merry Brandybuck to our screens in the form of Seth, an intensely perverted psychopath who kidnaps a waitress he is obsessed with. This is Pet.


Unfortunately, like most pets, Pet shits all over the floor. In an attempt to take the form of a Hitchcockian psychological thriller, Pet pelts you with twists like snowballs until you can’t take anymore. The overly convoluted plot becomes laughably implausible with each revelation and the film becomes a joke. It’s not thrilling or scary, it’s just tedious and boring. What the hell went wrong?

Jeremy Slater, one of the three writers behind 2015’s Fantastic Four disaster, single-handedly wrote this preposterous drivel. That’s all I really need to say. Anyone who has seen Fantastic Four knows that the first sentence of this paragraph is enough to explain why the film is shit. It is Jeremy we can blame for the silly dialogue and over-the-top narrative twists. Spanish director Carles Torrens - who seemingly brings us his English-language debut with Pet - doesn’t go any way to save the film. Not his fault, really. There’s not much he can do with Slater’s shitty script. The only (almost) saving graces are Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo - who plays the waitress with whom Seth is infatuated. Outside of these two, it’s a load of bland old shite.

Monaghan is creepily good as the obsessed stalker, despite not being given a great deal to do with the role. Clearly, the only direction he was given is “be creepy”. Ksenia Solo’s Holly is a more interesting character – without giving too much away, the general premise of the story is that she is the titular Pet, kept in a cage by Seth. But from behind her bars she begins to play mind-games on the mentally weak villain and it becomes something of a battle of wits – like a violent and disturbed Holmes & Moriarty, or Clarice and Hannibal. This is where elements of originality try to break through, but unfortunately, they’re not strong enough to punch through the shield of mediocrity that surrounds Pet’s narrative like a border wall.


Ultimately, Pet is dull. The twists lose their power due to the sheer frequency, the violence isn’t visceral, the acting isn’t as good as it could be…hell, there isn’t one area in which this film excels. There’s plenty of room for improvement across the board. Shame really, as the premise was interesting…ish. Ksenia Solo and Dominic Monaghan can have a star each, I’m feeling generous.
This is a Pet you don’t want in your home.

★★☆☆☆

Sam Love


Pet at CeX




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