Just because the inmates of a juvenile detention center are teens doesn’t mean they have it easier than their adult counterparts. That’s the takeaway from this prison drama, centering on three underage convicts—a coke dealer (Shane Kippel), a car thief (Mateo Morales) and a crazy-as-fuck sociopath (Adam Butcher) as they negotiate the puppy-eat-puppy world of a youth correctional facility. Like Alan Clarke’s Scum (1977), Kim Chapiron’s genre entry creates an extra layer of unease by adding kids into the mix. Unlike that brutal British film, however, Dog Pound only rarely finds the live-wire energy needed to make up for its amateur cast and staunch adherence to well-worn archetypes: cell-block bullies, sadistic guards, fresh-fish innocents, etc. Neither the film’s bark nor its bite leaves much of a mark.
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