Director: Franck Richard
Starring: Émilie Dequenne, Benjamin Biolay, Yolande Moreau, Philippe Nahon
Duration: 84 min.
Driving in the middle of nowhere, Charlotte picks up Max, a hitchhiker. They stop in a truck-stop restaurant, and when Max doesn't come back from the restroom, curiosity soon gets the better of her...
The Pack is the debut feature film written and directed by Franck Richard. It premiered in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
Belgian born Émilie Dequenne plays Charlotte an independent and rebellious young woman, who just could be a grown up Rosetta, driving with no destination in mind. All those years getting tattoos and honing her attitude means she's obviously never found time to watch any horror movies though because along the way she picks up Max (Benjamin Biolay) a hitchhiker and the two decide to stop at a hillbilly road house run by the creepy La Spack (Yolande Moreau) that would fit right into a Rob Zombie film. When Max fails to return after a trip to the restroom, Charlotte returns at night to search for him and ends up in a living nightmare. French Extremity veteran Philippe Nahon also turns in a fine performance here as the retired sheriff who investigates Charlotte's disappearance.
The special effects are excellent, with some cringe worthy gore and torture devices, and possibly the best horror monsters created since The Descent. There's also a good mix of comedy and surrealism as well, with some hilarious dialogue (ever heard the one about the masochist, rapist, murderer, necrophiliac, and arsonist?), strange unexplained events (a girl covered in bubble wrap hopping around), and some interesting character twists (there's more to the drunk bumbling senile old detective and it isn't what we expect).
It does borrow very heavily from its predecessors and depending on your mood is riddled with either clever or tedious references. I personally loved the foreshadowing scene of Charlotte playing Ghosts'n Goblins. Unfortunately like a lot of these films, the story starts to fall apart half way through, where the director must have run out of good ideas and decides to take it in random directions in order to showcase more effects and sneak in more nods to the classics. His worst mistake of all though is the ending, but it's not the outcome that's the problem, it's the cheap and lazy way it was executed.
Still this one is a fun torture/zombie splatter fest with a strong cast and impressive effects even if it relies a bit too much on paying tribute to horror and pop culture references and is let down by a poorly misguided ending.
— Bonjour Tristesse