Director: Nick Robertson
Starring: Anna Lise Phillips, Jack Campbell & Katie Moore
Synopsis: A farmer and his family fight for survival after a ferocious pack of wild dogs infiltrates their isolate farmhouse.
Rating: 15 Duration: 85 minutes Release date: 7 March (UK)
The Australian’s are a law unto themselves with regards to how they approach the horror genre. Anyone who has seen the likes of Wyrmwood or Undead will testify to how they are willing to take a simple premise and bend it to their own maniacal will. Unfortunately, director Nick Robertson doesn’t attempt anything ground breaking with The Pack, and while that is a shame, it is still a satisfying horror albeit not a very memorable one.
The Pack starts as it means to go on; with an attack by a pack of rabid dogs on an unsuspecting elderly couple in the middle of Australia’s heartland. Their attack is swift and one sided, and seemingly without any other reason than this certain pack have developed an insatiable taste for human blood. And that is basically the premise of the entire film; the pack have one mission and in true Terminator style absolutely will not stop.
It’s a very loose premise, but one that works well within the parameters of the film and allows us to move swiftly without the need to worry why these animals are doing the things they are. That doesn’t extend to the next family and the proverbial heroes of the film though. The Wilson’s, led by Adam (Jack Campbell) and Carla (Anna Lise Phillips) are well and truly up shit creek, what with their livestock being savaged and the mortgage payments overdue on their farmhouse, it is not a good time for them.
The need to create a sympathetic story to accompany the Wilson’s upcoming night of terror is ill conceived, and actually rather short lived. No sooner has the bank manager paid a visit to inform them that this will be their last offer before taking the Wilson’s to court, and he is ravaged by the killer dogs of the title, ergo seemingly writing off the family’s debt to the bank. It therefore seems frivolous to introduce this scenario for it to never get mentioned again.
First time director Nick Robertson manages to build tension in a limited setting and creates the type of siege mentality popular in thousands of other horror films, but doesn’t always know what to do with it. He essentially has two buildings for the family to hide in, and audiences will likely question why not just hole up in the house and barricade every entry point? Of course, people are rarely clever in horror films and that stretches to Australia too.
Stupidity aside, the Wilson’s are a generally likeable family. Carla and Adam take their fair share of hits and will, obviously, do whatever it takes to protect their children. The children are the weak link though. Sophie is the angst ridden teenager desperate to escape the family farm, while Henry is a bit whiny and dull, unwilling to follow his sisters desire to leave for the city. It’s not a unique set-up, and does leave you rooting for the parents slightly more than the children.
Saying that it does, just about, come together. The dogs are frightening to behold, their eyes glimmering in the darkness and the family are, mostly, appealing. But The Pack doesn’t take a hold in the way you’d hope it would and its early promise is never quite upheld.
A short, 7 minutes 35, making-of documentary is the only thing to accompany the DVD release of The Pack. It’s running time doesn’t allow for any amount of time to get into the true making of the film, and we only see glimpses of the practical & special effects as well as snippets from the actors and crew.