Dominique Monoghan is mostly known for depicting one of the four doofus Hobbits in the "Lords of the Rings" trilogy; hence also the admittedly lame reference in this review's subject line. But next to playing an annoying Middle-Earth nerd, the type of role that is second most appropriate for Monoghan is that of a pathetic and perverted stalker. I'm sorry, Dominique? It's nothing personal; it's just that you have the face and charisma of a creepy nerd capable of doing stuff like that. For about half of the film's running time, "Pet" is a straightforward, archetypal and even somewhat predictable thriller. The plot unfolds exactly as you would expect, the characters act and react exactly like you would expect them to and the narrative structure is logical and numeric. Dominic Monoghan is Seth, a somewhat spineless and mildly pathetic thirty-something single man who works in an animal shelter and doesn't have any high ambitions in life. When he takes the bus back home one evening, he spots the beautiful blond Holly and recognizes her as the unreachable girl he had a crush on in high school. Holly works as a waitress in a sloppy restaurant and seemingly struggles with the issues that all gorgeous girls struggle with, like unfaithful and aggressive macho boyfriends. Seth quickly becomes a bit too obtrusive in his attempts to get noticed by Holly, and during his stalking he discovers a few things about her that lead him to kidnapping her and locking her up in a cage in the basement of the animal shelter. Without spoiling too much, there's a vital plot twist just before he kidnaps the girl, and that twist more or less puts into perspective Seth's motivations and mental condition? I'm still undecided whether or not it's a good twist, but it is definitely an implausible and grotesque twist. Once Holly is trapped in her cage, "Pet" moves into the familiar territory of psychological cat-and-mouse games between victims and assailant, and it's not always obvious who's the victim and who's the assailant. The screenplay, courtesy of Jeremy Slater (co-writer of superhero movie "Fantastic Four") often reverts to clichés and derivative concepts, but director Carles Torrens nevertheless manages to keep the entire movie tense and compelling. This is definitely also thanks to the strong and devoted performances of Dominic Monoghan and the ravishing Ksenia Solo, who are both forced to alternatively go from vulnerable and emotional towards fierce and psychotic. "Pet" also features a couple of very graphic, raw and gory sequences that are arguably a bit redundant and gratuitous, but on the other hand it makes the film more accessible to die-hard horror fanatics. It's a curious film that dares to experiment with conventional topics and traditional characters, but it sadly lacks credibility. Still, definitely worth checking out!
A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old crush 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 captor?
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March 4, 2017 at 2:37 am