The Pack (La meute) is a French horror film written and directed by Franck Richard. The film is set in rural France around a roadside diner run by the disturbing La Spack, an elderly lady with a murderous obsession and the keeper of a dark secret.
Into the diner walks Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne) and a hitch-hiker, Max (Benjamin Biolay), who she picks up at the start of the film. Charlotte is driving to nowhere whilst listening to angsty music. Richard seems to set her up as some sort of existentialist and complex heroine but unfortunately she just comes across like a moody teenager. In many areas Richard seems to be aiming for some meaningful dark subject matter but so often it falls flat and simply comes across as immature. I also love Charles Bukowski but naming one of your main characters Chinaski just seems a little like a film school cliche.
The film appears to be all about a sombre mood as there is little in the way of narrative drive and it’s certainly not tense or dramatic. The problem with this though is that the mood that Richard creates is not enough to carry the film and the film is actually a little dull because of it. The colours are, I’m sure deliberately, grey and washed out and unfortunately everything about the film follows suit. Without any momentum in the plot or emotional investment, due to the blank and uninteresting characters, The Pack is a lacklustre affair.
The only thing that really stands out in The Pack is the creatures that make up the titular ‘Pack’ with excellent make-up/special effects resulting in creepy creations that could have been put to much better use. Yolande Moreau as La Spack is also pretty memorable but again it’s hard not to wish she was in another, better film.
With a strange u-turn from a central character and a pretty pointless multiple ending device, as the credits roll you will undoubtedly walk away with a distinct lack of satisfaction after watching The Pack. A solid idea and good creature effects, but sadly The Pack is a grey and lifeless film.