Pet (2016) Review: A Romantic Psychological Thriller

“A Love Story”

Synopsis: A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old crush and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her captor?

Pet (2016) Review Poster
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Calamity Brains:

Pet is not going to be for everyone.

Pet is (and I quote from the promotional materials here) a love story between a man (Dominic Monaghan) and a woman he’s kidnapped (Ksenia Solo). Or, more accurately, it’s a psychological thriller involving two people – one drifting through life, and the other making a series of escalating bad decisions. Despite on its face being a straightforward captive/captor film, Pet definitely has some surprises in store for its audience.

I appreciate deeply when films surprise me – especially horror films, which tend to be overly formulaic. Pet had a number of tricks up its proverbial sleeve: what seemed like plot holes became evidence; what came across as deluded became understandable; and even knowing how the story must end left quite a lot of room for tension. But that’s not to say Pet’s story was perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It suffered from a very slow start, and I didn’t find myself deeply invested in what was going on until about 2/3 of the way into the movie.

But once the full extent of the situation was revealed, I was definitely drawn in by the interactions between captor and captive. One of the side effects of watching as many movies as we do is that I tend to be a little distracted by the actors themselves. Not so in Pet. Both Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo gave excellent performances, and I never once looked at the former and thought, “Merry!” as I was afraid I would. So many actors are type cast or only able to play one sort of role; it was refreshing to see what else Dominic Monaghan could do.

The uncomfortable nature of the plot, combined with the manipulative and predatory behavior displayed throughout the movie, means that Pet can be difficult to watch even outside of the gore. (Which, while infrequent, looks very realistic.) If you’re not into psychological thrillers or easily made uncomfortable, you’re probably not going to enjoy this movie. Still, even with the slow start, there are quite a few things to like about Pet…. so if you’re on the fence, it may be worth a try.

Calamity Brains’ Rating: B-
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Calamity Brains

The Codex Mortis Horror Hosts (Ludwig von Stroodle and Calamity Brains) are married and live in West Virginia. Pretty much everyone who sees their cabin agrees that it would be an ideal setting for a horror movie. Their pets include a black widow spider, a smart dog, and a stupid dog. When they aren’t watching horror movies, they can be found at whiskey festivals, Renaissance fairs, and board game nights.