Pet: The Film Review

imageWe’ve all heard the saying…A Pet is for Life, Not Just for Christmas. Well this statement couldn’t be more true for the new horror/thriller PET.

Written by Jeremy Slater; most famous for his work on the 2015 movie The Lazarus Effect and his participation in the outstanding current FOX TV series adaption of The Exorcist, it already goes without saying that his newest movie would be just as exciting and groundbreaking.

PET is the story of Seth, played by Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings)who is somewhat of a recluse, a nobody…a loner if that description fits.

He spends his days working at a state county animal shelter, adopting more of a relationship with his animal companions than that of his occupational peers. He comes to work, he smiles, he waves, he keeps the place tidy and despite the lack of respect he is shown by his work colleagues, he just carries on as normal.

Sounds like a sweet guy…yeah? Think again. We soon find out that Seth commutes to work on the bus, with a girl called Holly (Ksenia Solo) who he has developed a crush on. The only thing is, he does not know her, has never spoken to her and she has no knowledge of his feelings.

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He soon sets out by finding out her name, and when he does, he uses the fantastic world of social media to learn everything about her. He learns her age, her educational history, her likes and dislikes, her favorite foods and restaurants…and most of all…her relationship status.

Now tell me if I wrong, but does this not creep you out in the slightest? We are all guilty of putting too much information of ourselves on social media, making one understand how easily it can be for predators to gain key facts and claim to know you.

In several early scenes we see Seth practicing scenarios where they possibly meet and start chatting, as he silently hopes for this clueless girl to fall in love with him. As Seth begins to visit the diner where she works; pretending he is an old high school buddy from back in the day and starts getting roses delivered, Holly starts to get scared and tells him she has a boyfriend. Little does she know, Seth knows for certain that she doesn’t.

She is completely oblivious to how he would know such intimate details about her…completely unaware of how simple it is to follow someones life online.

imageAs the film gets over introductions, we see Seth’s abduction of Holly, as she sleeps in her apartment. However, when she wakes up, nothing can prepare her for what she sees. For now, she is no longer in the comfort of her own bed, but in an animal cage in the basement of the abandoned premises of the animal shelter. The question that we are left with now is whether or not Seth wants a girlfriend or a PET.

But just like any great horror/thriller, there are many twists and turns, and soon the tables are turned. What we learn about both characters, as the movie progresses, will change your perception on the assumed villain.

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Dominic Monaghan plays the role of our male lead brilliantly, as he portrays his psychotic tendencies and instability with such passion and belief; making us feel sorry for him and then despise him later on. Wheareas, Ksenia Solo as Holly is a breath of fresh air on the movie scene, as she show viewers how victims of kidnapping soon put things into perspective and enter survival mode.

It is great to see movies like this being made, as it not only highlights the importance of being curious questionable of some behaviors, but it also makes us take a look at our own. Why do we put on the internet that we like a certain food, why do we tag ourselves into our favorite coffee shop each week, why do we inform the world of our love life or lack of it, with just one click?

The answer is different for everyone? Maybe you want to be seen as outgoing and enjoying life, maybe you want some much needed attention or maybe you want to feel like the world is watching. However, maybe somebody is watching and the attention they seek is somewhat opposite.

imagePET was released during Christmas 2016, to mediocre turnouts at movie theatres, but this is understandable due to December being every cinema’s hardest month to draw in movie-goers. Nevertheless, it is a great film, full of terrific plot twists and wonderful character development.

I would encourage fans of this genre to purchase this on DVD, as it is definitely one for the weekend movie marathon with friends and family. Currently the movie is on sale on AMAZON UK for a very affordable price, making it an absolute steal.

Hope you enjoy the shock fest. Get your pillow ready.

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Every Parent’s Fear…Every Captive’s Nightmare: “Thirteen” TV Series Review

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For parents of children of any age, their minds are always in overdrive 24/7. Their subconscious plays out scenarios every day, if certain events were to occur that would put their loved ones in danger. These worries are created not only by the natural need for parents to protect their young, but mostly due to an understandable fear that something or someone terrible may put them in danger, which they have no control over.

We are surrounded by images, newspaper articles and TV reports each year of missing children, whom were happily living their lives, until they disappeareed without a trace. We see the headlines… Search Continues…Still No Leads…They Simply Vanished…Where Were The Parents?…and we get sucked in. We sometimes forget how the lives of those involved are affected and our blame relies on media coverage.

Names like Elisabeth Fritzl, Jaycee Lee Dugard, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus remind us of cases were victims have escaped from the clutches of their captors…and then there are those who are never seen again. We find us silently asking ourselves…WHO WAS TO BLAME? Did the victim go willingly with their kidnapper, were they even a stranger, could the parents have prevented this disappearance, did the family & neighbours of the criminal have any knowledge of what was happening and most of all, how ever did they escape after such a prolonged period of captivity.

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This is where I introduce you to the fantastic five part BBC TV series THIRTEEN. If this genre of TV drama intrigues you and you are looking for a show that will make you look at a child’s disappearance from both a parent and a investigators point of view…then this series is what you have been waiting for.

Click HERE to watch the teaser trailer of the TV series.

Thirteen, a British TV drama, written by Marnie Dickens, is set in Bristol and centres around the fictional character of IVY MOXAM, played by amazingly talented, Liverpool actress Jodie Comer. The story opens up, showing a girl escaping from captivity after being held prisoner for 13 years in the basement of a terraced house, in a built up residential area. As soon as she breathes in the fresh air of freedom, she panics and sets off in search for help. Frightened, unaware of her surroundings and desperate to get home, she finally discovers a telephone box and dials 999. The distress call is answered and Ivy, now 26 years old, explains to the operator how she was abducted from her small village after skipping school at the age of 13. She was held as a prisoner by this unknown attacker for 13 years, and has only now got the opportunity to escape and inform the authorities.

Now, to not risk ruining the fantastic series that it is…all that I will tell you is this. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. Jodie Comer plays the character of Ivy with such emotion, skill and raw passion that you cannot help but be drawn in by her in every scene. She is perfect in helping the viewers to see the pain and fear she has for everything that has happened to her. But she is exceptional when showing us the secretive and elusive side to her character.

However, much credit must be also given to Valene Kane, who plays the character of D.S Lisa Merchant, who along with her police partner is set the task of finding Ivy’s on-the-run kidnappper, but also the job of delving into the thirteen years of Ivy’s life that nobody knows anything about. Valene Kane, who actually hales from my home city of Newry, County Down in Ireland, plays her role with such power, strength and determination. Throughout the show you are cheering her on in her pursuit of Ivy’s abductor, and is phenomenal with her no-nonsense attitude in questioning Ivy’s ever-confusing stories of her life in the basement.

For people, like myself, who find crime shows and documentaries fascinating, this series has it all. It is perfect in showing the viewers how a child’s disappearance paints everybody as criminals; the closest relatives first. It portrays how relationships may break down and become irreparable as a result of these terrible occurrences. But the reason why I loved this show as much as I did, was because it did not focus entirely on the criminals psyche, like many shows do. It delves into areas that other kidnap shows shy away from, such as what happened during their captivity, what circumstances led to the victim finally being able to escape, what is the victim not revealing to the authorities and how can we unveil those hidden details before it is too late, and another child is abducted.

If you want to check out this show for yourself, and enjoy it as much as I have done, you can watch it online via the BBC iPlayer by clicking HERE.

You can also purchase the series box-set online, if you are looking for that certain birthday present, an upcoming Christmas gift or even something to treat yourself to on these cold autumn evenings.

If you are from Ireland or the UK, you can purchase the DVD by clicking HERE.

If you are from Canada or the US, you can purchase the DVD by clicking HERE.

imageAs a final note, Jodie Comer and Valene Kane, are the cream of the crop among the actresses of our times. Jodie can be also seen as Chloe Gemell in My Mad Fat Diary, and is soon to be the lead character of Elizabeth of York, Queen of England in the adaption of Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Princess.

imageValene on the other hand can be seen as the character Rose Stagg on the ever popular suspense series The Fall. She is also set to hit international stardom when she steps out in December 2016 as the character Lyra Erso, in the new Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The Visit… I’m never visiting my Grandparents again

imageFor quite some time, I have searched high and low for a horror movie that would get your heart racing, as well as ensure your inability to sleep for days. After watching films like “The Conjuring” this set the bar quite high and I had much doubt about the silver screen creating another gem.

Enter THE VISIT! The movie basically follows two kids who have never met their grandparents due to familial disputes, as well as geographical distance. Rebecca and her younger brother Tyler set off with eager anticipation and excitement at meeting their mother’s parents for the first time. The trip starts with hugs, kisses and cookies; the usual occurrence when you push open the front door of your grandmother’s house.

Just as soon as you feel a familiar, genuine warmth to the elderly characters, things change. And I mean CHANGE! As time passes, they both start exhibiting disturbing tendencies, making the confused, frightened children more uncomfortable by the second. With each passing minute, the kids descend into a pit of fear and terror. With no-one around to help, it is up to these brave minors to discover the hidden secret of their grandparents behaviours, in their terrifying race against time.

After the cinema lights turned back on after the movie had ended, I realised I had more popcorn and chocolate around me than inside me; purely due to the suspense of the film. Apologies in advance to the IMC Dundalk Cinema Staff… you did not have a miniature snack explosion in Row R. That was just me.

Much credit needs to be given to the director, M. Night Shyamalan, who decided to record the entire film by character hand-held camera. It thankfully worked so well, as it makes the viewer feel they are in the movie themselves and adds to the suspense of the film.

This movie is still out in cinemas, but if you want to wait until it is released on DVD/Blu-Ray; where you can scream like a school-girl (ehhh boys??) and pee yourself in the comfort of your own living room…you will have to hold out until December 2015.

My last bit of advise I shall give before you view this cracker of cinematic excellence…

  1. Think twice before accepting an out-of-the-ordinary invitation to visit an unpredictable, reclusive family member
  2. When something looks CRAZY it probably is
  3. and most of all… if in doubt RUNNNNNNN!!!

RATING: 4 STARS * * * *

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