The Pack Review
The Pack follows an Australian family that is on the verge of losing their farm. In the middle of the night, they are attacked by a pack of feral dogs (that look like smaller versions of black wolves) that seem to have gotten a taste for human flesh and developed a rather persistent attitude towards getting this particular family.
Real-life creature features, those generally based on more realistic animals, have a nook in the special effects industry when the budget doesn't allow for life-like CGI or effective animatronics and the director refuses to superimpose the animals on the screen like the worst scenes from (the otherwise fantastic) Ghost and the Darkness. And perhaps the only thing worse than superimposing the animals on screen is the nook that these films fall into; the realm of the quick shaky cam shot that never shows any actual bits of what is happening. The mind fill in the blanks, but with dull cliches of wolf bites on people bits. And this kind of "left to the imagination" is a cheap trick on hardened horror fans that might as well just go read a book.
Sometimes I start off with the silver lining, but I'll work that in now here in the middle...Australian horror films have a knack for solid acting and creative directing styles. And while I disliked the film's use of The Bourne Identity fight scene-like camera action, the rest of the film was on par with what I've come to expect from the Aussies. Australian Sean Bean (whose voice sounds like a revving chainsaw in a distant cave) does a great job as the father of the family, with his rustic, stern family man demeanor. Our family dynamic is strong throughout and held together by the acting of the cast.
The feral dogs sometimes behaved like Michael Myers-esque serial killers stalking their prey. Not in the sense that they toyed with their victims, but they seemed to possess a lack of keen senses normally possessed by our canine companions. They would walk right by a character hiding in the shadows, or sneak slowly into rooms as if to purposefully build tension with no intention of being an efficient killer, or run away scared with not so much as a retaliating nip when they get stabbed with a kitchen knife. All-in-all, their lack of genuine danger placed on the family quickly outweighs the fatal blows they delivered early on to the plot-served first-act fodder.
As the credits rolled, I found myself only enjoying the moments that reminded me of the generally good parts of all Aussie horror films, and disliking the lack of actual dread and overload of dull camera tropes. And if I had to pick a side on which moments monopolized by perspective, I'd sadly have to go with the latter.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 3/10
Film Quality: 4/10