PET

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Pet is a psychological-horror film about a man who has been rejected one too many times. Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings, Lost) plays Seth, a guy who just wants someone to reciprocate his feelings of love. The closest thing he has to this are the dogs at the shelter he works at. He takes care of them and in return they are eager to love him back. One day while he is eating at a diner he meets a beautiful waitress, one that finds her way into his heart in a matter of seconds. However, when Seth tries to coerce her into a date he lays it on too thick and comes off creepy. She repeatedly but politely denies him. Seth takes this as an insult and the final straw, so he begins to come up with a plan to capture the waitress and subdue his loneliness permanently. He decides to use an old forgotten area of the pound to serve as his prison. Soon she will become his pet and she WILL learn to love him!

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After the waitress is in Seth’s hands it is revealed that the woman, Holly, is not so innocent herself. Seth decides he will be the one to save her from her dark past while also getting her to love him. By now you may have realized, as do most people, that this movie is starting to fray at the edges. What we have here is a classic folly found in many a film. The plot starts off simple enough but every time something is resolved two more problems are created. Pet has a good heart, just like Seth, but forces itself to plunge into darkness, again like Seth.

It’s not like the movie goes too far into exploitative or shocking territory. Pet does have a few gory scenes but nothing most adults would bat an eye to. The aforementioned darkness refers to when a film unnecessarily bogs itself down with plot twists galore to the point where the viewer no longer cares and/or loses track of what the story is trying to convey. You can’t hold a puppy adoption seminar and change the event partway through to an illegal betting ring for greyhound races without expecting to piss people off. The puppies being akin to the caging of a helpless woman and the betting being Seth bashing an innocent man’s head in with little motivation in that analogy, obviously.

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A message to all directors who are not pros yet: If you have a simple concept and you bounce some corresponding ideas off of some trusting colleagues who in turn encourage you to pursue said ideas, then don’t try to do too much. Just make what you originally sought out to make. I know this gets harder and harder every day in the industry, for the meddling suits are multiplying and there are shitty writers at every turn, but at some point you have to take a little responsibility with your creations. After all, directors sure are the first to take the praise if their movie does well, but some try to throw the blame around when their film goes belly up.

That concludes my scathing Hollywood rant-…er… concise review of Pet. Not a bad premise but it gets tarnished by uneven, unwarranted complexity. If the plot was more restrained then maybe this film would have been decent. Sadly, it failed to capture my heart.

2 ill-advised kidnappings (with the emphasis on “napping”) out of 5

★★☆☆☆

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