The Pact (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2012

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

As haunted house horrors go, The Pact is well acted, has some intriguing ideas and delivers a number of creepy moments (if not quite outright scares), but it's also let down by some pacing issues and an occasionally silly script.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nicholas McCarthy, who has expanded his own 11 minute short to a feature length film, The Pact stars Caity Lotz as motorbike riding Annie, who returns to her unhappy family home to bury her mother and discovers that her ex-drug addict sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) has mysteriously vanished from within their mother's house. When their cousin Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins) - who'd been looking after Nicole's daughter - also goes missing after visiting the house, Annie becomes increasingly unnerved and enlists the help of local cop Creek (Caspar Van Dien) to investigate the spooky goings-on. However, neither of them are prepared for what they find ...

The Good
Caity Lotz is an appealingly sulky-faced onscreen presence and the film takes an intriguingly minimalist approach to dialogue at times, which works well. There's also strong support from Bruckner (in what is essentially a single scene cameo) and a creepy turn from Haley Hudson as a young medium who warns Annie about a presence within the house, while Dien is solid, if unremarkable as Creek.

Unfortunately, to reveal the best moments of The Pact would require giving away too much plot detail, but suffice it to say there are some intriguing ideas here, particularly during the exciting final act. In addition, as well as using relatively little dialogue, McCarthy also adopts a little-to-no music policy for the soundtrack, which makes a refreshing change from the jarring chords and overblown scores that accompany most horror flicks.

The Bad
That's not to say the film is without problems, however: for one thing, the pacing drags considerably in the first half of the film, before rallying for a decent climax. On top of that, the script is occasionally both frustrating and silly – for example, no-one ever seems to come looking for any of the (numerous) characters that disappear, while - and look away now if you wish to remain completely unspoiled – there's also a ghostly presence that seems remarkably social media-savvy and is able to operate mobile phones and send pin-drop locations on Google Maps, yet remains mysteriously unable to send texts.

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, The Pact is ultimately worth seeing for a strong performance from Caity Lotz (do more films please, Caity Lotz), a handful of interesting ideas and a decent final act. Extra points if you can work out what the pact is – I'm still none the wiser.

Film Trailer

The Pact (15)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 19:23

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