We haven’t seen Dominic Monaghan in a lot of projects since his rise to fame during The Lord of the Rings fame or following his stint on Lost. His involvement with a little film called Pet has been a long journey that he has followed outside a studio project to the edgy “midnighter” it has become. Pet is being classified as a horror film, maybe it can be billed that way to sell tickets, but it’s smarter than the generic stereotypes. Pet is a bit better than most of the horror films you expect to see during SXSW, but this thriller focuses more on the psychology than the violence or blood. It’s great to see Monaghan back on the big screen and in a leading role. Of course Monaghan isn’t the only LOTR star interested in propelling the horror genre.

Thirty-something Seth (Monaghan) works as a Los Angeles pound technician. His life certainly isn’t where he hoped it would be. He lives alone, has few friends, and only makes about $9 bucks an hour. He notices Holly (Solo) on a bus ride to work, she off to work at a local restaurant. Their first encounter is awkward, but something about the brief conversation stays with Seth. He accesses her Instagram page and begins to track her likes, dislikes and check-ins around town. An encounter at the restaurant and then a bar, pushes Seth to the edge, and when he gains access her diary, what he does next is unimaginable. “I’m doing this for your own good,” he says.

This thriller focuses more on the psychology than the violence or blood

The script does a good job (without giving anything away) at keeping the viewer on the edge. So many moments we feel sorry for Seth, his desperation and failed innocent interactions with Holly in the beginning. However, the viewer never has all the cards and that’s what makes this film so interesting because we watch in anticipation purely on how it ends. At no point in the film can the viewer predict the outcome. Now, working backward not every piece of the puzzle makes total sense, yet it never becomes a slasher film or something that feeds off the negative elements associated with the genre.

Pet is also a remarkably diverse film, showcasing Los Angeles in a very confined and even claustrophobic way. There are no remarkable filmmaking elements to the movie, the cinematography is standard and the editing very average. The story and suspense is the main reason to see Pet. It rises above just traditional horror movie scripts and seems intent on turning what the audience might expect from a trailer or poster completely on its head.

Final Thought

Refreshing for the genre, deliberately works against expectations.


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