Alone on a road trip Charlotte picks up hitchhiker Max. A few miles later they stop at a truck-stop restaurant and he disappears. Puzzled, Charlotte comes back at night to look for him but gets caught by the owner, a singular woman in charge of a very hungry pack. Can Charlotte find Max and escape? Or will she be next on the menu...
I suppose it’s a bid to assure the teen audience that horror is ‘cool’, but there seems to be an unwritten rule that films of this genre often have to feature a soundtrack made up of ‘college rock’ music. This faux-aggressive accompaniment is one of the first things we hear in ‘The Pack’, but thankfully it is just to let us know the sole heroine Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne) is dark and dangerous. The young man she gets to know Max (Benjamin Biolay) bears an uncanny resemblance to Gollum actor Andy Serkis.
Before too long, Charlotte has been customarily tortured, fed and bled and offered up as a sacrifice to some horrifying, sightless, hairless creatures in boiler-suits, that dwell underground. “I think she’ll hold out,” muses Le Spack (Yolande Moreau), the mother of the Texas Chainsaw-style family responsible for events.
And that’s what the films turns out to be, ultimately. A kind of French mash-up of ‘Chainsaw Massacre’/’Wrong Turn’ (there’s even some hillbilly banjo music towards the end). The nature of the sightless creatures is enigmatic (miners who ‘dug too far’ underground), and the group of comedy bikers who attempt to save the day are simply … odd.
Ultimately, ‘The Pack’ is a little disappointing after an intriguing start. It has an illogical ending and features characters with very inconsistent motives. It is, nevertheless, stunning to look at; the locations are very atmospherically shot and drive home a constant sense of grim, cold isolation.