"The Pact" Breaks Its Ambitious Promise Review

Sometimes, in an effort to make a very simple ghost story more complex, the writer will add in a twist that muddies the water and prevents the audience from figuring out what’s going on too soon in the film. However, some ghost stories need this more than others, and a few need more than one. Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact is one such example where the filmmaker felt the need to keep adding wrinkles, but he never thought ahead to how he might iron them out so the final revelation was actually presentable. Instead, he creases his story so many times that when we reach the end, none of the moments that made the horror film for its first two acts really make any sense and we realize it was all done for the sake of empty, thoughtless twists.

Annie (Caity Lotz) doesn’t know much about her mother, and neither does her sister Nichole (Agnes Bruckner), but there might be some clues left behind in their childhood home. The discovery of such secrets receives a degree of importance when Nichole disappears one night, leaving Annie to investigate the mystery of what might be lurking in the house. To help her out she enlists an empath (Haley Hudson) and a detective (Casper Van Dien), only to discover that what lives within the walls might not be alive at all. The more Annie learns and understands, the more she begins to wonder if the strange happenings in the house aren’t trying to tell her about another even far more sinister force at work.

The twist of the film is legitimately a good one, but unfortunately it’s made to be a bit nonsensical thanks to the writer and director’s insistence on adding in a few spooky moments that ultimately don’t reconcile with truth of the film. Unfortunately, that poor execution combined with the absolutely horrible acting, which relies far too much on the melodramatic musical cues to not make it seem entirely over-the-top, make The Pact a hard horror film to recommend.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

A brief production featurette and an audio commentary are the only lackluster extras.

"The Pact" is on sale November 6, 2012 and is rated R. Horror. Directed by Nicholas Mccarthy. Written by Nicholas McCarthy. Starring Agnes Bruckner, Casper Van Dien, Caity Lotz, Haley Hudson.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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