Review: ‘The Pack’

A contempo Western-horror-black comedy rolled into one.

An amusing genre hodgepodge but not a whole lot more, first-timer Franck Richard’s “The Pack” is a contempo Western-horror-black comedy rolled into one. Starring Yolande Moreau (“Seraphine”) and Emilie Dequenne (“Rosetta”), both somewhat out of character as a murderous wench and a road-tripping rebel, pic does fun things with its ranch-like setting, playful gore and blood-slurping zombies, yet it’s too uproariously modeled on every latenight classic under the sun to feel fresh or dramatically apt. After small-scale Euro theatrical, this pack will be unshouldered to rest alongside its homevid ancestry.

Somewhere in morbid northern France, tough-gal Charlotte (Dequenne) picks up a moody hitchhiker (singer Benjamin Biolay), and the two land at an isolated truck/horse stop run by the foul-mouthed La Spack (Moreau, deadpan funny). Along with serving up insults to her customers, La Spack likes to lock them in cages, drain their blood and use it as fertilizer to regenerate a horde of invincible flesh-eaters. It’s not everyday Moreau can shout things like, “Ball juice!” — and she does it convincingly well. Tech is above B-movie standards.

The Pack

France-Belgium

Production

A La Fabrique 2 release (in France) of a La Fabrique 2, Be-Films production, in association with Sofica Coficup 3, Un Fond Backup Films, Cofinova 6, Sofica Soficinema 4, Touscoprod, with participation of Canal Plus, CineCinema, TPS Star. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Verane Frediani, Franck Ribiere. Co-producer, Christophe Louis. Directed, written by Franck Richard.

Crew

Camera (color), Laurent Bares; editor, Olivier Gajan; music; Chris Spencer, Ari Benjamin Meyers; production designers, Eugenie Collet, Florence Vercheval; costume designer, Catherine Marchand. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Midnight Screenings), May 15, 2010. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Yolande Moreau, Emilie Dequenne, Benjamin Biolay, Philippe Nahon, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jan Fonteyn.
(French dialogue)

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