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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Pack (2015) (Blu-ray)
The Pack (2015) (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // Unrated // July 5, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $22.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted July 4, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

This Australian import sees a family held hostage in their country home by a pack of wild dogs poised to kill anyone who steps foot outdoors. Director Nick Robertson's film has a straightforward plot, and viewers get exactly what is promised with this quickly paced, entertaining thriller. Had this film been made in America, I doubt the quality of acting would be as impressive as it is here. Jack Campbell and Anna Lise Phillips play Adam and Carla Wilson, respectively, two parents facing foreclosure on their home. Their children, the bratty Sophie (Katie Moore) and curious Henry (Hamish Phillips), realize something is amiss when animals at their mother's in-home veterinary clinic begin acting strangely. Rife with atmosphere and plenty of dread, The Pack succeeds with its unpretentious thrills and terror.

Things are not going well for the Wilson family. Sheep farmer Jack fights to keep his family afloat and fends off the bank's patronizing representative (Charles Mayer) when he comes to buy them out of their debt. Carla's vet clinic is not making money, which damages both her pride and relationship with Jack. Sophie hates living in a remote country home, and takes her parents to task for every failure. Henry sits quietly in the shadows, but is clearly hurt by his dysfunctional family. If anything, the mostly unexplained wild dogs that surround the Wilson estate one evening are a blessing that brings the factitious family back together.

The synopsis of "The Pack" made me chuckle, as it recalls the line from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy where Will Ferrell's idiot reporter talks about wild dogs mauling a La Jolla man in an abandoned pool. This could have been a very stupid movie, but it actually works quite well. The surroundings provide perfect isolation, and director Robertson understands pacing and narrative structure. He keeps things rolling without diverting to unnecessary exposition or leaving the countryside. This is an impressive directorial debut, and I look forward to seeing what Robertson does next.

The actors craft a believable family, and the main reason this movie works is that I absolutely believed these relationships. At its core, The Pack is a family survival drama with unexpected villain, and Robertson keeps the four leads in constant danger. He makes the most of a limited budget by keeping the dog attacks brief and intense, with tight editing and sound effects that suggest blood and gore that isn't actually there. Spooky shots of the dogs slinking around the property are unnerving, and, like some of the best horror movies, Robertson never forecasts where the dogs will be, ramping up a fear of the unknown. This is a surprisingly effective chiller, and well worth seeking out.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image offers plenty of fine-object detail and texture. Facial features, fabrics and the home's interior are presented with excellent clarity and sharpness. Wide shots are crisp and clear. Skin tones appear accurate and colors are appropriately saturated. Noise spikes a bit in nighttime scenes, but shadow detail is good.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix offers good directional effects. The panting, pacing death dogs surround the viewer, and plenty of environmental sound effects waft through the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and accurately layered with effects and score. English and Spanish subtitles are included.

EXTRAS:

The disc includes the brief The Making of The Pack featurette and the Theatrical Trailer.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Australian import The Pack is a successfully claustrophobic thriller about a family fighting off wild dogs at their countryside farm. An impressive directorial debut from Nick Robertson, the film keeps the pace quick and dread thick. The performances are good, and The Pack is an surprisingly effective film. Recommended.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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