Pet Blu-ray Review
Pet is a curious two-handed battle of wits that is less exploitation torture and more psychological drama, but never really gets beyond the surface.Taking its time to set up what you might have expected from an odd film about a guy who works at a pet store and bumps into a girl he recognises from his school days, and basically decides to lock her up in a cage, Pet does play with that expectation. It has more to offer than the simple exploitative horror you'd otherwise expect, and does shift the balance between captor and captive in an ostensibly clever fashion, reminding a little of another simple, unpleasant, psychological two-hander, Hard Candy, but never really getting to the bottom of the characters it throws into the twisty scenario, and instead relying on the twists alone to subsist and to maintain your interest. And that's simply not enough.The two players - Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings) and Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl) - commit to their respective roles, and are relatively convincing in the parts, able to flip their characters as the narrative dictates, but this kind of play-structure - which reminds us all the way back to the likes of the excellent, underrated Sleuth, with Caine battling Olivier - requires more than what's on offer here; a 45 minute set-up that barely gets going before it crashes to an unsatisfactory, cliched ending. There's a good idea here, but it needs a better hand behind it, with a director who's had acclaim for his short films, but can't really spin what would have been a solid idea for a short film into a full-length feature.
Picture QualitySignature's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Pet promotes the movie with a very good 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation that copes remarkably well with the exceedingly dark filming locations that pervade the piece. Whilst it may not be naturally demo material, it seldom falters, with no overt signs of digital defects, banding or crush to impinge upon your 'enjoyment' of the movie.
Despite the dark interiors this is a very good video presentation
Detail laps up the sweaty, dirty faces and gritty, grimy setting, picking up on 5 O'clock shadow, hair strands, and background nuances. The weathered locales look tremendous under this kind of observation. Of course the setting limitations don't allow for much change of scenery, or diversity, and the muted, dull palette is broken only by the natural skin tones that seem to flourish despite the conditions. Black levels are deep, affording great shadow detail within the confines of the aforementioned darkness-steeped setting(s), and overall it's a very strong video presentation indeed.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a largely solid affair, which is more obviously limited by the location/setting restrictions and the somewhat reserved sound design. Whilst dialogue - arguably the most important element - remains cleanly and clearly disseminated across the frontal array, the remaining score and effects elements seldom get much opportunity to shine.
Like the picture, the audio is also a solid affair
Effects are oddly at their most observational when passing through the corridor of dogs, with barking engulfing you for those brief moments, whilst most of the other sequences in the movie - predominantly the main setting - has little background noise to speak of. The bar is also a more boisterous locale, and there are springs of energy, but the effects aren't really given breathing space in this production. The same is true of the score, which is a distinctly unmemorable, generic affair that arguably at least gets a reserved place across the background array, but still doesn't really ever take center-stage, oddly until the credits roll and a rock track lights up the surrounds. Whilst the limited sound design is inherent to the restrictions of the movie itself, it leaves this a track that doesn't really get beyond a mere competent rating, faithful to the source material but pretty damn far from demo.
ExtrasNot a single extra
Blu-ray VerdictWhat would have been a solid idea for a short film doesn't really work as a full-length feature
Decent enough video and audio, at least given the restrictions - both in terms of budget and setting - leave this an acceptable Blu-ray release even with not a single extra, although even those interested should consider a rental first to test the waters.
You can buy Pet on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.24
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