John’s Horror Corner: Pet (2016), a decent so-called psychological thriller about obsession and manipulation.
MY CALL: Maybe nothing special, but still worth a watch. This captivity-based psychological horror takes some unexpected and satisfying turns, but won’t wow you with reveals. MORE MOVIES LIKE Pet: The Gift (2015), Swimfan (2002), Dread (2009), Hunger (2009).
Rigidly awkward yet seemingly well-mannered and kind-hearted, Seth (Dominic Monaghan; Lost, The Day) works at an animal shelter and enjoys the dogs’ company as if they were his only taste of friendship. He happens upon Holly (Ksenia Solo; Black Swan, Lost Girl, Orphan Black), an old high school crush of his, and shines an interest which goes completed unreciprocated.
Unfortunately for Holly, Seth is one to fixate. It’s a bit endearing at first as he rehearses asking her out on a date in front of the mirror, but more than a bit troubling when he studies her social media as if her affection were a test he could pass. Seth becomes a bit obsessive, things get weird…you know how it goes.
What caught my attention was the very credible obsession that overcame Seth, who remained completely unable to understand how the object of his interest didn’t share his feelings. I’ve seen it. I feel, at some point, we all probably saw this happen to (or with) someone we knew.
As if Seth prayed to the Gods of Cliché Horror Convenience, the animal shelter has an abandoned wing with a cellar. A little anesthesia and some online welding tutorials and presto—Seth has himself a caged pet he can visit during his lunch break. He keeps Holly captive and systematically starves and conditions her to psychologically breaking her. Here’s the thing…Seth may not be the only sick person in this relationship. As the story progresses, the lines get a little blurred as to who is manipulating whom, who is using whom, who is torturing whom.
As director Carles Torrens (Apartment 143) guides us on our journey in this psychological thriller we find some brutal and gory scenes, some plot turns I wouldn’t have expected, and a lot of manipulation.
This film may not be anything special but it highly succeeded at entertaining me. It started a bit slow and plainly formulaic, but developed into something worthy of my time—even if I’ll never see it again since it’s more “neat” than “good.” I also enjoyed the ending—far from perfect, but endings are where most horror movies fall apart anyway, right? So let’s give credit where it’s due.