Monday, September 3, 2012

Mindless Movie Monday: The Pack (2010)

Review by Marie Robinson

Greetings, my ghastly readers! I have been slacking my bum off lately because I just started school up again. I hope you haven’t taken my absence the wrong way.

Just yesterday I watched a French film—The Pack (la Muete)—hailing from 2010. I was kind of going for a mediocre, easy-to-digest film at the time and this little eighty-four minute flick suited my mood perfectly.

It starts off with our protagonist, Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne), a pretty but angsty young woman cruising down the road. Her plan is to drive until the sun goes down and her stack of heavy metal CDs run out. She is being tailed by three extremely unsavory motorcyclists, one on them a presumed ex-love. To avoid them, she pulls over to pick up a hitchhiker (Benjamin Biolay). I don’t know how things are in France, but I have always had the common sense not to pick up strangers off the side of the road, especially when you are a lonesome female. Anyway, she thinks this is a good idea and takes off with the quiet, dark-haired, nameless boy.

Darling Charlotte seems to be toting this “bad-ass, chain-smoking, don’t-give-a-fuck” attitude, traits that I would usually like in a woman, but goddamit she will not stop making stupid decisions. I mean REALLY stupid. As fatigue sets in on the long drive, she decides to take a little napsy-poo in the passenger seat and let Stranger Danger McGee drive! I mean, I’m sure that’s what any of us would do, right? NO!!!

Tall, dark, and creepy drives them up to a small backwoods saloon called La Spack. Charlotte and the hitchhiker settle in and have a cup of coffee, a couple packs of cigarettes (seriously, these two never stop smoking); they’re tellin’ some jokes, havin’ a great time, and guess who shows up.

Oh, you already know it’s those biker douche bags, come to start some trouble. As some sort of fight/rape is about to ensue, La Spack, herself (Yolande Moreau, who I recognized instantly from Amelie), appears with a rifle and chases the bikers out of the place. Charlotte sits down to collect herself while hitchhiker goes to the restroom. 

After several moments pass and stranger boy has not returned, Charlotte goes to investigate. She doesn’t find the boy, but she does find a mysterious door that has been covered over with wallpaper. When she asks La Spack about the door, the woman simply answers that it has always been locked up.

When night falls, Charlotte returns to the saloon, breaking in to unlock the covered door. She succeeds in opening it, but is unable to explore her findings because she gets a two-by-four cracked over her head.

This girl… she is just so dumb! I’m not saying that she deserves to wake up in a basement, in a cage, imprisoned by La Spack and her son—the hitchhiker, but come on, what was this chick thinking. I guess she was just trying to be nice, seeing if little hitchhiker (Who’s name is Max, by the way) was okay…

This movie was entertaining enough, original enough, but it wasn’t anything special. Granted, it is writer/director Frank Richard’s first and so far only film.
The character development is unsteady and confusing; one minute someone is good, the next someone is bad. The action and suspense lacks grip, the soundtrack is terrible, and there are countless plot holes. It is no surprise we didn’t hear any Oscar buzz about The Pack, but it is a film that you can pop on if you are killing some time, or brain cells; no thought required.

Duh! I forgot to mention the pack, itself. When you hear that phrasing, the first thing you probably think of is werewolves—but that is not the case in this film. It actually refers to these blind, pale, fully clothed ghouls that live in the dirt and rise only to feed on human flesh. They look to me like a cross between the cave dwellers in The Descent and the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth. Sounds cute, right?
This little jewel is streaming on Netflix!

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