Directed by Carles Torrens
Starring Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Parsons, Janet Song
A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old flame and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her assailant?
The pure genius of Carles Torrens’s Pet is that it constantly plays with audience expectations. Just when you think you’ve got Pet all worked out, Jeremy Slater’s script pulls out the rug, creating one of the best cinematic and storytelling experiences of 2016.
Dominic Monaghan is almost unrecognisable since his days on Lost and The Lord of The Rings as the very troubled and lonely Seth and he brings so much to the character. Its a performance that is comparable to Ryan Reynolds in The Voices, but Monaghan does something that Reynolds couldn’t – be humours and entertaining while still having that underlying sense of threat. No matter what he’s doing on screen, there is something uneasy about Seth’s mannerisms and stance which really puts the audience on edge prior to the plot fully kicking in. Likewise his co-star and victim Ksenia Solo is fabulous and, despite a tremendous showing from Monaghan, is the star of the show. Slater (who wrote the first draft of the ill-fated Fantastic Four) has penned a script that gives her so much to work with, and Torrens does an incredible job of drip-feeding us information through visuals and the performances.
It’s almost impossible to talk about Pet without giving away spoilers, but it really is a film that is best enjoyed when you know as little as possible. But what sets it apart from many of its contemporaries in the genre, is that it’s 100% the opposite of what you would imagine. Based on the outline you would assume this would be yet-another torture-porn toss fest with gratuitous gore and nudity, but Slater and Torrens (who directed the fairly average Apartment 143 prior to this) shake up the foundations. Even outside of the brilliance that goes on underneath the film’s surface, Pet also provides social commentary on how we live our social lives – and how easy that can be used to manipulate us.
Pet really is about the brutal twists and turns that take place throughout the run time, and like the most zig-zagged, back and forth game of chess, it will keep you guessing at every turn and you’ll always feel one move behind. Slater’s script is tremendous, Torrens’ direction is fantastic and the performances from Monaghan and Solo are phenomenal. This could be the film of the festival.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the co-host of The Flickering Myth Podcast and Scooperhero News. You can follow him on Twitter @ThisisLukeOwen and read his weekly feature The Week in Star Wars.