The set-up for 2015’s The Pack is simple – a family living on a remote Australian farm must fend off a pack of blood-thirsty wolves over the course of a long night. It embraces its genre roots and makes sure that’s its bark is just as good as its bite.
For decades the Australian Outback has been used as the perfect setting for a variety of tense movies. The vast expanse of nothingness is helps to tap into a primal fear of nature and loneliness, caught in isolation, away from humanity. Director Nick Robertson and writer Evan Randall Green keep things lean, upping the tension and giving audiences exactly what they want. The Pack mixes one location thriller with man vs nature horror, making it a fun B-movie experience.
The Pack has a cast that features a handful of actors (Jack Campbell, Anna Lise Phillips, Katie Moore, Hamish Phillips) and they all manage to give good performances. However, the real selling point here is the canine carnage. Robertson keeps things old-school, using practical effects and real-life dogs. It must have been a health and safety nightmare but the film manages to sell the mutt-based mayhem. There’s some decent character development at the start of the film as we see how the family is struggling to make ends meet in their failing homestead. It’s a nice touch and it helps to draw empathy for the characters as the hounds of hell attack.
It may have a far-fetched or original premise (hey there Cujo), but what horror film doesn’t? The Pack taps into a primal fear that many people have and also the oft-asked question: what if man’s best friends turns into man’s worst enemy?
A fun horror-thriller that’s played totally straight, The Pack delivers on its promise of dog-fuelled disaster. It doesn’t outstay it’s welcome – good acting and high tension make this an Aussie horror with a lot to offer.