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"Pet" Review

How many times have we seen a variation of the "creepy stalker dude is obsessed with woman and kidnaps her to make her love him" story? At first blush, it seems that Pet is just another misogynistic torture porn movie until the end of the trailer has an eyebrow-raising moment. But while the trailer for Pet implies one kind of movie and hints at another angle, it manages to not give away its real surprise, which while pretty nifty, is undercut by lackluster and tired execution. They had one bright idea and didn't know how to really handle it.

Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings) is Seth, a creepy loner who works in an animal shelter. He's obsessed with Holly (Ksenia Solo - Kenzie on Lost Girl; Black Swan), a waitress whom he approaches on the LA bus and then proceeds to pester at her job, following her to the bar, basically creeping her out. As indicated in the trailer, he eventually kidnaps her and puts her in a cage because of course.

While Pet takes its sweet time to set its familiar table, just over halfway through comes the whammy and while I am normally loathe to even spoil that there are twists in movies - it has driven me crazy how movie ads blatantly proclaim there's a twist so you spend the whole time looking for and trying to figure it out before it happens (the upcoming Split by Mr. Movie Twist himself, M. Night Shyalaman is being touted this way) - in this case I'm making an exception because I really didn't see it coming and even if I'd known something was coming, I would never have guessed it.

The problem is that after the twist, it all proceeds pretty predictably. Seth's efforts to hide that he's got a girl caged up in the basement of the shelter under the suspicious eyes of a security guard play out predictably and then there's the issue of Holly's ex-boyfriend or employer never seeming to notice she's been off grid for weeks, especially when Seth's contacts with her were known. No one is looking for her?

Solo is really good as Holly, providing a side of her that wasn't really shown off on Lost Girl. Monaghan is OK, limited by the script by Jeremy Slater. Spanish director Carles Torrens tries to imbue the story with a thin script with some noirish visuals, but mistakes slow pacing for dramatic buildup (a flaw of Denis Villaneuve's films).

If not for the twist and Solo's performance, there's not really much to recommend Pet because it's surrounded by familiar stock elements we've seen too many times before. It's a pity, because there is a bright idea caged up on the medocrity.

Score: 4/10. Catch it on cable.


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