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THE PACK (2015)

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Australian horror has couple Adam and Carla Wilson (Jack Campbell and Anna Lise Phillips from Animal Kingdom) living on a rural farm/veterinary clinic with their two children, Henry and teen daughter Sophie (Hamish Phillips and Katie Moore). They are having financial troubles and their property is close to foreclosure. That is the least of their worries, though, as the area has been plagued recently by attacks from a pack of vicious wild dogs. Their farm animals are being slaughtered and a nearby couple has been killed. As fate would have it one night, the pack turn their attention towards the Wilsons and puts the family in a fight for their lives with no one coming to help.

This is a decent enough thriller as written by Evan Randall Green and directed by Nick Robertson. Their is some nice suspense, especially in the tense last act, when the Wilsons are fighting against the predators at their door. There are some vicious mauling sequences which have some impact and one of the reasons things work as well as they do is that the Wilson family seem like a likable bunch and they earn audience sympathy. The directing is a bit laid back and there could have had a bit more intensity, but Robertson does the job suitably enough to keep one interested in how it’s all going to turn out. The story itself is nothing new, though the familiar trope of someone living in a secluded house still works for obvious reasons. The Pack themselves are adequately effective. They are a group of black dogs and look ominous and vicious enough. Director Robertson wisely doesn’t overexpose them, so when we do see them in bloody action, it has the intended impact and the animals themselves act appropriately nasty. They could have used a bit more personality and threat factor, but are just dogs when all is said and done. There is no real explanation to their sudden aggressiveness other than Carla’s theories based on her experience with animals and leaves it a bit ambiguous.

Our small cast do as well as did the canines. Jack Campbell is solid as farmer and father Adam. Obviously he fights for his family when threatened. Same can be said of Anna Lise Phillips who is strong as Carla, the veterinarian and mother who also fights tooth and nail to save her family. She has a down to earth sexiness that comes through and gives her added appeal. Hamish Phillips and pretty Katie Moore do fine as the Wilson kids. They avoid annoying children status and actually are quite resourceful when separated and have to fight for themselves. The young actors make it convincing.

Overall, this was an entertaining enough thriller. There was some nice tension and suspense and quite a bit of bloodshed here and there to add to the effectiveness. Nick Robertson’s direction is a bit laid back and there could have been more tension if the intensity was turned up a bit, but it is still suspenseful and entertaining. Nothing overly memorable, but a solid enough horror/thriller for a night on the couch.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 bad dogs.

pack rating