Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Carles Torrens|
|Written by||Jeremy Slater|
|Music by||Zacarías M. de la Riva|
|Cinematography||Timothy A. Burton|
|Edited by||Elena Ruiz|
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Pet is an American/Spanish psychological thriller film written by Jeremy Slater, directed by Carles Torrens, and starring Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, and Nathan Parsons. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2016 and was released to theaters on December 2, 2016.
Seth is a shy man who works at the local Animal Control department. He has developed an obsession with Holly, a waitress he saw writing in her journal on the bus one day. Seth asks security guard Nate for advice, and Nate tells him to be confident and approach her. Seth extensively researches her online profiles for information and tries to ask her out at the diner, but his attempts at confidence are too awkward and she rebuffs him. At home, Holly talks about the encounter with her friend Claire, and takes a drunken phone call from her ex-boyfriend Eric, who cheated on her.
Holly receives a large bouquet of roses at work the next day, and assuming they are an apology from Eric, goes to visit the bar where he works. Seth, who has been following her, confronts her outside, leading to a physical confrontation when he refuses to accept her rejection. Eric beats Seth up, but Seth is able to steal Holly's journal. He spends the next several days reading every detail. As his performance slips at work, Seth discovers a trapdoor to a room in an abandoned wing of the animal shelter, where he sets about constructing a steel cage. He follows Holly home, breaks into her apartment, and kidnaps her.
After she awakens in the cage, Holly vows to survive, speaking to an image of Claire. Seth informs Holly that he loves her and has imprisoned her to "save" her. He reveals that he has heard her talking in both her own and Claire's voices, and that he knows the truth: Holly discovered that Eric had slept with Claire, and confronted her about it during a car ride. An angry Holly continued accelerating the car until they were hit by a truck. Although injured, Claire was alive until Holly stabbed her in the eye with a long glass shard; Claire's death was attributed to the crash. Since then, Holly has committed a series of gruesome murders and written about them in her journal. When Seth realized the stories were real, he formulated a plan to save Holly to prevent her from hurting anyone else, claiming that he finally felt a purpose in life.
Over the next several days, they engage in psychological mind games against each other, as Holly begins to slip details to draw Seth in. Seth maintains that Holly committed the other murders from guilt of not being caught over Claire, but Holly counters that she kills simply because she enjoys it. A suspicious Nate follows Seth, and discovers Holly. During a struggle, Seth ends up stabbing him. Desperate to avoid detection and at Holly's urging, he smashes Nate's skull with a cinder block and dismembers and disposes of the body by feeding it to the dogs and burning the rest.
Seth invents a story to explain Nate's disappearance, but this only makes the police suspicious of him. With time running out, Holly convinces him that he can save her if he proves his love to her by cutting off his finger. He does, but this leads to Holly grabbing his knife and threatening to kill herself if he doesn't release her. She says she finally believes that he loves her before slitting his throat.
Some time later, Holly is back together with Eric, and the "fictional" events from her journal are being published as a book. Holly finds evidence that Eric has been cheating again, but declines to kill him. Instead, she travels to a warehouse, where it is revealed that Seth is kept in a cage, still alive but horribly mutilated and tortured; he has "saved" her by allowing her to take out her murderous impulses on him instead.
Reviews for Pet have been mixed, with critics alternatively praising the subversive themes and strong leading performances, or lamenting the implausible twists. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 50% based on 12 reviews. Reviews that have criticized the twists include Screen Anarchy, which wrote "Without spoiling anything more, the twists push past the merely unlikely into a strange minefield of 'what in the world?'", and RogerEbert.com, which noted "The rank, idiotic implausibilities continue to mount..."
The Hollywood Reporter gave the bottom line of "This graphically violent horror thriller features too many plot twists for its own good", but the review has also words of praise for the direction and cast: "Still, the film is engrossing, thanks to the director’s skill at delivering sustained tension, and the excellent performances."
An entirely positive review came from The A.V. Club's Alex McCown, who stated: "Part of the wicked fun of Pet, a dark little exercise in sadism and black humor, is how it upends the traditional conventions of the 'wronged woman turns the tables on her abuser' narrative. (...) The films zigs where you expect a depraved zag, resulting in a smart and unsettling tale."
Another overall positive review has been given by Katie Walsh of Los Angeles Times, who wrote: "The constant power flipping allows for some interesting explorations of both the misogyny and misandry demonstrated by the main characters, and the way they justify their actions through the philosophical lens of love and sacrifice. 'Pet' is a modern-day fable of unchecked desire that descends quickly into a bloody, morbid cautionary tale."
- "Pet (18)". British Board of Film Classification. September 16, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- Kroll, Justin (11 August 2015). "Jennette McCurdy to Co-Star in Indie 'Pet'". Variety. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Kit, Borys (10 August 2015). "Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo to Star in Indie Thriller 'Pet'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Wanchope, . (18 August 2015). "Comienza el rodaje de 'Pet', lo nuevo de Carles Torrens" (in Spanish). El Séptimo Arte. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Gettell, Oliver (9 February 2016). "SXSW 2016 Midnighters include Hush, Pet, remastered Phantasm". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Olsen, Mark (9 February 2016). "South By Southwest film fest announces midnight titles and more". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Kay, Jeremy (9 February 2016). "SXSW Midnighters includes 'Hush', 'Carnage Park'". Screen Daily. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Hime, Nelly (November 7, 2016). "PET 2016 TRAILER SHOWS UNIQUE SPIN ON CLAUSTROPHOBIC THRILLER + RELEASE". NagameDigital. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
- "2016 DOMESTIC GROSSES". Box Office Mojo.
- "Pet". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
- Martin, Peter (December 1, 2016). "Review: PET, A Man, A Woman, and a Cage". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- Kenny, Glenn (December 2, 2016). "Pet". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- Scheck, Frank (December 6, 2016). "'Pet': Film Review". Retrieved March 13, 2017.
- McCown, Alex (December 1, 2016). "The best movies of 2016 that we didn't review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
- Walsh, Katie (December 1, 2016). "Boldly creepy 'Pet' tweaks captive-captor conventions". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 28, 2017.