Pete’s New Wave Euro Horror Countdown | Number 5 – ghoulish French entry, The Pack

Ever since the 2008 Swedish vampire blockbuster Let the Right One In paved the way for subtitled horrors to become cool to watch, a new wave of Euro horror is being unleashed on genre fans. Over the next five days, we bring you some new ones that have gripped our attention – and throttled us into submission – starting with this ghoulish French entry.

Country: France
Multi-award winning Belgian actress Yolande Moreau, who has starred in some great hits like Amélie and Gainsbourg, plays it to the hilt in writer-director Franck Richard’s debut feature, The Pack.

Reminiscent of 1970s horrors Inn of the Damned and Beast in the Cellar (which also featured veteran actresses playing it mad, bad and dangerous to know), The Pack sees Moreau in OTT mode as La Spack, the owner of a rundown café in a remote rural town, who harbors a deadly secret – she’s the matriach of a pack of creatures, born of mud and the blood of the dead, who live in the bowels of the Earth.

Like Leatherface in a bad cardi, La Spack traps unsuspecting travellers in her Western saloon style rest stop, before hacking off their limbs so they cannot escape their fate – as food for the pack. One of her intended victims is Charlotte (Emilie Dequenne), who twigs something’s amiss when the Nick Cave-looking hitchhiker she picks up mysteriously disappears. While investigating, poor Charlotte’s nabbed by La Spack, and it looks like its curtains for the poor girl – especially when the pack finally appear 44-minutes into the movie.

The Pack does get confusing at times (it doesn’t know whether it wants to be torture porn, monster movie or satantic spookfest), but it’s shot in such a cool, creepy manner that I overlooked its faults and just took in the great visuals – like the creatures in silhouette, the hanging women, and the boarded house where some bikers take refuge (very Evil Dead). The Pack might be style over substance, but Moreau’s creepy performance makes for some deliciously demented viewing.

Best scene: a hand goes through someone’s stomach to open up a door. Cool!

Favourite line: ‘So a sadist, masochist, murderer, necrophile, zoophile and pyromaniac walk into a bar…’

Out now on DVD, released through Icon Home Entertainment
Check back tomorrow for Number 4 in Pete’s Euro Horror countdown