Pet follows a young man (Seth, played by Dominic Monaghan) who works at an animal shelter. He becomes obsessed with an old high school crush (Holly, played by Ksenia Solo) after running into her on the bus. After a disconcerting amount of stalking that leads to failed pick-up attempts, Seth kidnaps her and holds her hostage in a cage in an abandoned storage area of the animal shelter. What ensues is a game of psychological cat and mouse as the two attempt to manipulate each other to achieve their goals.
I was excited about this film because the plot sounded unique. It didn't sound like torture porn, and it didn't sound like a conventional, mundane thriller either. And thankfully, I was right in these assumptions. Monaghan and Solo play off each other fantastically as the two square off in a battle of wits and psychological fortitude. The twists in the story really help drive it and set it apart from other films of a similar ilk.
There is plenty of empathy and disgust to go around, but the sentiments never stick with the same person. As mysteries are revealed, our allegiances bend and swerve at the mercy of each unveiling. Despite a lack of solid horror elements, it is an enthralling and engaging story that uses thriller and dark comedic devices to weave the tale.
Pet isn't genre-defining or the pinnacle of creativity in the craft, but it is highly compelling at what it attempts to accomplish. You latch on to every word of their exchanges so as to catch every nuance of motive and manipulation that is being tossed around. It's a violent attack on the mind rather than the body, and a refreshing take at that. No, it isn't mind-boggling or state of consciousness altering-type stuff...but it was amusing, if another, more precise word won't come to mind.
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 7/10