New Horror Releases: Pet (Reviewed)

From the deranged minds of director Carles Tullens and writer Jeremy Slater comes the new horror film, Pet.  Bred from a notorious script and a refreshing performance from Dominic Monaghan, this new feature revels in pain, death, and bloodshed while also offering up a thoughtful provocation about obsession, love, and all the details that come in between. 

Initially thought to be another low brow torture porn flick, Pet breaks down the barriers between horror and thriller as it redeems itself with a careful character study of two broken people, each at some differing end of the social spectrum. Seth is a shy, lost soul searching for affection. And Holly is a beautiful women, confident in her appearance and intelligence. When they're played against each other, all hell breaks loose. 

What starts off as a kidnapping film takes some drastic turns and ends up qualifying itself as a better than average story with two leads portraying destructive humans on a twisted path to self discovery and perverted redemption. Easing into the first third of the film, Monaghan instantly owns this role. By the final act, he's drowning in his own enjoyment of the character. Seeing him take a break from his typically innocent support parts makes this an even more interesting turn for his career. Much like Elijah Wood in the Maniac remake, Monaghan feels unhinged and separated from the reality around him. His infatuation with a long lost crush is palpable as is a strong performance by Ksenia Solo as Seth's unwieldy prisoner, Holly. 

When you call me Hobbit, you end up in the cage. Do you understand?

The overall theme throughout Pet will not sit well with many women as it feels like it's going to stray into rape territory in many instances. Scenes of stalking and physical struggle may hit too close to home for those that may have been victimized. Pet takes place in our world and most of the things that happen here could be easily rendered by someone with a twisted mind. The nature of the power struggle between man and woman is calculated and cold. And the creep out factor of Monaghan's Seth is often times too realistic, blurring the lines between reality and onscreen dramatics. 

The poor marketing for Pet makes it seem like this will be some brooding, fetishistic fantasy for lovers of the Saw series. It's not. This is a hybrid thriller that's been marked by many horror elements. This isn't a must see but it's a great breakaway for Monaghan and will hopefully help him get more roles like this. If you liked movies like Dead Girl or  The Autopsy of Jane Doe, there will be something here for you to like. 

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