La Meute (The Pack) (2010)

 Reviewed by Paul McCannibal

Starring Yolande Moreau, Émilie Dequenne, Eric Godon, Philippe Nahon

Directed by Franck Richard

A gal who is feeling down on her luck and fed up with life heads out on the rural road to nowhere in her beater of a car. She picks up a quiet and seemingly harmless hitchhiker, who then takes her to a remote Old West style restaurant called “La Spack”. Then some sexual-preference-confused rapist bikers show up, then the hitchhiker goes missing, then a cop named Chinaski (oh please … don’t go thinking you’re an underground pop culture knowledge demigod if that name rings a bell) played by I Stand Alone’s Phillipe Nahon arrives wearing an “I Fuck on the First Date” shirt. Then a mean mama restauranteur makes some blood-hungry mutant zombies come out of the ground by hoisting kidnapees aloft on winches and bleeding them into the soil. Things get worse as the night darkens, and there is ample mayhem and some funny stuff that ensues and it’s all quite watchable.

Sorry for being so vague, but I can’t make heads or tails out of a lot of this movie and don’t particularly care to, because overanalysis would surely do this weird backwoods horror oddity a disservice.

Sense can be overrated anyway. We genre fans know that, and this is precisely why we sit through repeat viewings of Lucio Fulci classics and never tire of them. There are plenty of things that don’t make any sense in Zombi or City of the Living Dead, and yet they will always be hailed as undeniably great movies amongst genre fans.

Kick that forgiving genre mindset into gear going into The Pack, and you might find that this nonsensical and strange horror film will deliver you a fun night’s entertainment when you’re not up for something too heavy or cerebral. It is utter, daft nonsense, but if you accept it for being that, then you’ll see that there is more than enough unapologetic weirdness and peculiar humour here to keep you busy, as well as a few decent moments of good old meat & potatoes screen horror. It’s well shot (usually this is the case when you see that Canal+ is involved), the sets and characters are suitably rugged and quirky, and the tone is blackly comedic and downbeat throughout. In some ways The Pack feels like the aspiring kid brother of Calvaire, another bizarre film from France that The Pack would probably play well with on a drive-in double feature.

Bottom line, there is some fun horror junk food to be had right here. The main reason I liked The Pack was because it was just weird and random enough to work, and most importantly, it was never boring.

A good solid 3 daggers for this one…

3 out of 5

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