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The Pact Reviews

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Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2013
3 3/4's ..I liked this movie. It was pretty good, right up until the last five seconds making absolutely no sense what-so-ever. Another nightmare? I don't know. But hey, 99% of creepy horror movies do this with their endings. Now, what I can't figure out is why this movie is called "The Pact." I could make a guess, but that would be pure conjecture from me. Quite honestly, there are plenty of unanswered questions, but I think we can blame editing for that. All in all, though, it gets pretty good marks from me for creepiness factor...

Super Reviewer

June 28, 2012
Oh my this was damn scary!

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2012
With it's languid pace, minimal sound mix and bare bones plot, "The Pact" resembles the work of Ti West. McCarthy expanded his eleven minute short into a ninety minute feature and therein lies the problem. If the story could be told in eleven minutes, inevitably a feature length adaptation will suffer from pacing issues and boy does this drag.
You would think the extra running time would allow for some characterisation but in this regard the movie is paper thin. Despite losing her sister and friend, Lotz never seems too cut up. Likewise her niece is never seen grieving for her mother. Let's face it though, character depth isn't exactly a hallmark of the horror genre and if the movie is atmospheric or suspenseful it's something we can overlook. This is neither atmospheric nor suspenseful though, just dull and uninvolving. It's hard to care about Lotz as she barely seems to care about herself. She appears to be modeled on Linda Hamilton in "Terminator 2" which seems an odd choice for what is essentially a haunted house movie.
As is far too often the case with the modern horror film, we get a twist ending. As is also common, the twist raises a tricky plot hole. In this case the supernatural presence does something to one character but not another which would make more sense. Other subplots drift in and out, adding nothing but padding to the story. We get a creepy young girl with psychic powers and an aging Van Dien as a cop whose role only seems to service a "Psycho" homage.
Like Ti West, McCarthy's classical directing style is a refreshing break from the usual jump scares and fast cuts of contemporary genre fare. This gives me some interest in where he may go from here. Unfortunately he shares West's major flaw, the inability to write an effective script. Hopefully he can realise this himself as West seems completely ignorant of this fact.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2013
Looking past its occasional narrative faults and mediocre performances, its smartly directed. McCarthy utilizes a refreshing economic approach (Sparse score and effects) that makes the film unnerving in several sequences. Using such a seemingly bland house as the major set piece was a genius idea.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

June 5, 2012
Efficient, dread-building supernatural thriller that is beautifully shot and has a clutch of strong and unusual performances. The dialogue sounds a little flat and could use a polish, and the need for one final scare let things down a little, but what will linger in the memory more than makes up for that. An impressive film.
August 5, 2013
I absolutely love this movie. It's an indie film that is actually done really well. If you like Indie and good indie this is one you have to see.
January 15, 2013
It's pretty darn suspenseful and eerie, which is strange because movies like this have been done before but Nicholas McCarthy reels in the creepy factor here and there are some legitimate scares to be had. Also it seems Casper Van Dien has been granted the ability to act because he's pretty good in this.
December 30, 2012
When their mother passes away, Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) and Annie (Caity Lotz) are forced to return to their childhood home in San Pedro, CA to make arrangements for the funeral. Through their conversations by phone, we learn that neither particularly wants to - Nicole comes first begrudgingly out of a sense of obligation and Annie only after there is no word from Nicole. The funeral comes and goes and with no word from Nicole still, Annie chooses to stay at the home temporarily with her cousin and Nicole's daughter, Eva. When a series of escalating unexplainable events begin to unfold, Annie must unravel the history of the house and its mysteries.

The Pact is admittedly not a new package of material. It mixes and matches elements of many classic and contemporary horror films - a non-traditionally haunted house, a Norman Bates style idea of interior decorating, a psychic somewhat bordering on psychosis and a main character haunted by things beyond ghosts. Though this could have been a total mess, it was held together by Lotz's strong performance (her portrayal of Annie reminds me a mixture of Ellen Ripley and Clarice Starling), very unique cinematography (unusual angles and images abound) and the atmosphere McCarthy managed to create in an otherwise normal LA ranch. Fans of Ti West's films (particularly the Innkeepers) will find this an interesting comparison, though it lacks the humor of West's films. Any fan of horror will find something compelling here though.

However, like many films with a somewhat similar starting premise, the Pact has difficulty balancing what's going on and making it make sense in the broader picture. Once the supernatural begins happening, the initial mystery of Nicole is sent to the back burner. The horror of coming home to a place you don't think of home is lost to a more explicit horror. Annie's psyche stands up remarkably well even in those moments when most of us would totally question our sanity. We don't see those weaker moments often and it detracts from the impact the film could have had.

Overall, the Pact delivers on suspense and chills. Lotz brings us along with Annie regardless if we want to go or not. In the end, while you could say that the plot becomes somewhat predictable, it's so artfully done you won't care. Bonus: the psychic scene is simply genius.
November 25, 2012
Wasn't too bad. Liked the twists in this movie. Kind of a breath of fresh air from some of the stuff I have watched lately.
November 8, 2012
There's a good idea behind this movie, but it never reaches its potential. There's not enough background info, the plot skips around too much, and the acting is less than phenomenal. It's certainly not the worst quasi-horror movie I've ever seen, but it completely blends in with everything else in its genre.
October 27, 2012
Creepy in parts, stylish, and well-acted, The Pact just never quite delivered as fully as I wanted. While it is an intelligent, character-driven horror film, I was impressed overall but wanted a bit more on the creepiness scale.
August 12, 2012
in the beginning the storyline dragged, i mean really dragged but once u get past all of that it gets really scarey! there are a few moments when my heart starts beating quickly and i start sweating completely terrified for her. i can't explain it but somewhere towards the end when the plot really unfolds i start to feel like i'm there with her and i'm covering my mouth trying not to breathe! what makes this a cool movie is there is reality there, it's quite possible that something like this could really happen smh the entire end of the movie i had to turn on the lights to finish watching even with my man sleeping next to me!
April 13, 2014
Good plot, new sensation of horror and a scary one horror movie. But myself little bit dissapointed with the ending.
March 9, 2014
This film is not the slightest bit scary, with a boring plot which essentially goes nowhere.
March 2, 2014
This film is such a mixed bag.
From everyone but the lead actress, the acting is painful to watch...what exacerbates this issue is the godawful script. Much of the dialogue is entirely derivative and only points out something that is visible and obvious on screen. The film ends on a high note, but has that "we'll defy logic and undo everything we've done right just for a single-shot gotcha moment" scene at the end that leaves the viewer wondering if the director is baiting a sequel or just being a jackass.
Despite these many flaws, there is a truly interesting story here with some genuinely gripping and tense moments. The entire "big reveal" is surprising yet logical, and the resolution of this reveal in the third act is nail biting and terrifying.
I recommend this film but with hesitation, but an editor willing to stand their ground against the director's bad ideas, better actors, and most the dialogue cut...this would be a horror film that would be looked at in a decade as one of the greats. As is, it's too flawed to be remembered...which is a pity, there's some great stuff here.
February 3, 2014
A pretty good good ghost story that has the odd moment of true horror and scares. The overall wraparound tale is pretty humdrum though.
November 16, 2013
It was ok, but I was hoping for a better ending.
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