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"The Pact" is a treat for fans of this type of horror/thriller film.
The basic plot seems simple enough -- a young woman's sister convinces
her to come back for their mother's funeral, despite the fact that the
two sisters were estranged from their mother for a while. When she
comes back, her sister is gone, and strange, supernatural things begin
"The Pact" has a lot going for it. First of all, there is no forced romance to make us roll our eyes. Secondly, the lead character behaves like you'd expect a person to behave! When weird things start happening, she books out of the house. When she has to go back, she brings a policeman. When she gets in danger, she screams and flails and kicks. There are still some "Why is she doing that?" sequences, but a LOT less than usual in this type of film. And finally, NO IDIOTIC TWIST ENDING THAT MAKES NO SENSE BASED ON THE REST OF THE MOVIE!
But the best thing this film has going for it is Caity Lotz. The best part, by far, of MTV's cool but sadly departed "Death Valley," Caity is very easy on the eyes and she really shines in this role -- it's a virtuoso performance. And it needed to be -- a good portion of the film is her alone, so the entire film is on her shoulders and she carries it off. Very impressive, and I hope we get to see more of her in the future.
The film is not perfect -- a major plot is given away in a serious "deus ex machina" moment, there are some plot holes that the movie ignores, and I'm still not totally sure what the very last shot of the film is supposed to mean (maybe it will be explained when the DVD is released). But there is WAAAAY more good than bad, and it's worth seeing and supporting.
This movie has gotten a lot of terrible reviews here, so I feel the
need to add another positive one. If you love horror movies and don't
confuse "gory" with "scary" - and if everything doesn't have to be
spelled out for you in an unrealistic expository scene - don't miss
Most horror movies either insult the audience a little by over-explaining, or they leave many elements simply unexplained (which can be a plus too.) This one actually gives you all the clues you need to put it together and get the answers. Really, it's all there - if you are observant, you don't need the characters to spell it out for you. I found the characters and dialog very believable (for a horror film, of course.) And a HUGE plus - no fake scares. Plenty of real ones. My boyfriend screamed out loud once, and I don't think I've ever heard him do that. I give it 8/10 because while I'm not likely to put it in my top ten films of all time, it was an immensely entertaining movie.
Written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy, "The Pact" stars Caity Lotz
as Annie, a young woman who returns to her childhood home following the
death of her mother. Her sister and cousin have disappeared and it
appears that there is some supernatural entity inhabiting the house. As
Annie digs deeper, she learns of a serial killer whose last victim may
have had some kind of connection to her mother. Annie begins putting
the information together, revealing shocking and terrifying secrets.
Sound clichéd? Well believe me, it's not. What starts out as your typical run-of-the-mill haunted house film becomes one of the most intriguing and horrifying horror movies of the year. Not many movies scare me half as badly as "The Pact" did. I can tell you honestly that this film messed with my head and left me fearing my own house.
Caity Lotz does a great acting job, especially since she has such little dialogue. She really gets her feelings across by body movement and facial expressions. Another actress who really stands out is Haley Hudson, who plays Stevie, Annie's friend who just happens to be able to contact the dead. It is her character that scared me the most.
The movie also has some very good cinematography, especially when Annie walking throughout the house. Rather than constantly cut to new angle every time she turns a corner, the camera follows her with one continuous shot, immensely adding to the suspense.
The best part about the movie is that it doesn't assume that the audience is stupid. One of my least favorite things is when all questions are answered by the characters talking to themselves, or even to other characters. In "The Pact" the audience is given the information, and we are required to put it together ourselves. I have seen the movie twice now and certainly picked up on some small things that I missed in my first viewing.
The final plot surprise terrified me and I definitely won't forget it anytime soon. I didn't care for the very end (as in the closing shot), but it didn't ruin the whole movie for me.
Overall, "The Pact" is one of the scariest movies this year and a very well done horror movie. Not many low-budget horror movies are able to maintain the constant level of suspense that "The Pact" did. I highly recommend this to any horror fan. "The Pact" is currently available on Netflix Instant Streaming.
When I rented this I thought that for some reason this is part of the
recent, underwhelming wave of exorcism films. I was pleasantly
surprised to discover that this features no Catholic propaganda and
biblical incantations and after having watched The Pact twice now (the
second time with a group of friends who all really liked it), I regard
it as the best horror film I've seen this year.
The Pact doesn't re-invent the wheel, it is a fairly traditional ghost story (with touches of MR James and J-horror in its use of "haunted technology"), but it is the best directed horror film I've seen this year. The cinematography is always inventive without being flashy, establishing a real sense of place, important for any haunted house film. It also has fantastic sound design. The film avoids cheap jump scares to build a slow burning atmosphere of genuine dread. While neither weird nor surreal, the way the film generates scares reminded me more of David Lynch, than the cheap shock tactics you usually get in this type of film. I saw Lynch especially in the way a character gets swallowed up by the darkness behind a door. A scene set to a deafening rock music drone is reminiscent of a sequence from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
After the rather poor period haunted house films I've seen recently (The Woman in Black, The Awakening), which rely on all the clichés of the genre (dolls upon creepy dolls, ghostly children in white make up failing to look scary) I loved how this was set in an impoverished, modern blue collar town in the US. The house itself looks just slightly 'off' with a 'wrong' layout and subtly oppressive wallpaper, instead of being decorated like amusement park ghost ride.
The way the mystery slowly unfolds is cleverly handled and satisfying (and really quite creepy when you think about it). This makes for a great re-watch, when I picked up on a lot of hints and details that I missed first time round.
I'd never heard of lead actress Caity Lotz before. Playing a character who is tough on the outside but also quite vulnerable due to a traumatic past, she did a fantastic job anchoring the film emotionally. The fragile looking actress who plays the role of the medium you often get in haunted house films (here seemingly recruited from a crack den) looks and gives a performance that is genuinely disturbing. I had not seen Casper Van Dien in anything since Sleepy Hollow. His "He-Man" face always struck me as slightly comical, but he is fine as a sympathetic cop, looking a little more grizzled than in his Starship Trooper days
In some ways the film is reminiscent of the Kevin Bacon starring Stir of Echoes from the 90s, but I think this does a better job with similar material.
The Pact is only let down by the 'blah' title and awful promotional art, which looks like the dated looking CGI spook from The Frighteners, a visual that doesn't appear anywhere in the film.
Just for clarification, I started to see this movie on a Saturday
night, almost asleep and exhausted so, you can pretty much see that my
expectations were not so high, in fact, The Pact started slow and I was
almost done for in the first minutes.
But, even when the premise was done and re-done a thousand times, the movie somewhat got my attention, enough to watch it till the end.
The pact focus on 3 sisters that got a bad deal in their childhood due to an abusive mother, so, the movie start with them and slowly develops into a one-girl deal. Almost the entire movie is focused on Annie, acted by the beautiful Caity Lotz, one of the sisters in search of the truth about their past. This could be somewhat a mistake if the movie didn't knew how to handle the situation, but, in this case, having only one primary character and almost no development of other characters makes the movie more interesting since she does a beautiful job on screen. Make no mistake, this is not a dialog movie, the majority of scenes happens in silence, which is great since the objective is to capture the look and feel of our main character and I must say that it worked, at least for me.
The storyline is incredible simple but contrary to other movies that fail miserably, in this one it works and works because the movie relies on images more than anything.
It's not a perfect movie for it had it's flaws but the result gave a positive outcome to all this, plus Caity Lotz is gorgeous on this movie, a nice and fresh look to see on screen.
The Pact is a movie undecided of it's genre, a mix of suspense/horror with paranormal and thriller... The Pact does contain a little piece of each genre and does avoid the obvious clichés which is a nice welcome.
Balanced acting, a lot of suspense, almost no horror and some paranormal into the mix makes this movie somewhat a nice touch for a Saturday night if your expectations are not high, I will still watch it once more just to see Caity Lotz :)
Is not a bad movie and definitely not the disaster the other reviewers say it is, there are a tons of movies 10 times more expensive than this one with worse outcome so I can pretty much assure you... This is better than average.
This film is simply superb, no matter what your average 17 year old
blockbuster movie viewers say about this classic horror gem.
First of all, the cinematography is simply wonderful. It has very nice camera work, using unusual angles, and it shows us a great editing of the filmed scenes.
Second, the pacing of this film is consistent, and suspenseful. It builds up, as it should, by the start of our story, then adding the exact amount of information and depth to the storyline and characters, to leave the viewer with an eerie sense of unease, along with a need to find out what's going to happen next.
There are scenes with absolutely no score, giving this film a classic 70's feel, but when there's a score it's scary violins and cello's. Another thing which adds to the mood of this gem.
the lead actress Caity Lotz is doing a wonderful job in my honest opinion, playing the role of a victim of domestic abuse. The abuse, which is supposed to have happened when she and her sister grew up at their mothers house as children, isn't explained to the letter. I loved this, because it leaves the viewer use his/her imagination as to what horrors they went through. I can understand the low ratings, since nowadays people only get to see (or are only able to understand) simple movies, which are sure to make millions by using a simpleton movie formula. This movie doesn't go down that path. It invokes you to get involved, and figure stuff out for yourself, like films used to do before box office money was the only thing involved in making movies.
Casper van Dien was a nice surprise to see. The man proves he can do more than his career prior to this movie led you to believe.
To wrap things up, here's my personal account of watching this movie. It scared the hell out of me at times, it gave me goosebumps, and it took me on a ride of wanting to find out what the hell was going on. Being a fan of horror movies (in the broadest sense of the genre), I absolutely loved this film.
If you like movies made that call upon your intelligence, empathy and emotions....this film is for you.
If you like mindless-sure-thing-Hollywood-blockbuster, then pass this one because you're not equipped to appreciate this movie.
9 out of 10
Going by the reviews, I assumed this movie would be neither horrific nor have much suspense. I was wrong! It is definitely not for the faint of heart. By the end of the movie, I was hoping for it to get over , not because it's bad,but because I was that scared! The lead actress has done a great job and the movie has a lot of thrills and chills. The supporting cast has also been chosen well, which makes the movie all the more believable and hence,scary. I am not a big horror fan ,but that said, horror movies don't easily scare me. But this one did and how! The pact will be a treat for the horror buffs. The rest, please look elsewhere. 9 points only because it does full justice to the horror-thriller-suspense genre.
Okay, sure, it's not a groundbreaking horror film (what is nowadays?), but I found myself enjoying it. I usually don't watch films below a 6.0 IMDb rating (yeah, yeah, I'm a ratings wh***, shut up). But I was really in the mood for a horror movie and decided to give this a try. Yeah, it's a traditional story and somewhat predictable, but the modern "offbeat" characters kept it interesting. I agree with the user that says it starts off a bit weak/slow, but the rest of the story kept me intrigued. I've seen (modern) horror movies that are far worse than this that have higher ratings so give it a try if you enjoy modern horror.
As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her
mother's death, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.
First, let me praise Casper VanDien, who (to put it bluntly) did not suck. I cannot say he is particularly known for his superb acting, having done a number of cheesy movies, but VanDien shows off his acting chops here. This kind of performance could get you a supporting actor Oscar if it was not in a horror film.
I heard the judges at Sundance were praising Nick McCarthy's direction, and that is absolutely fair. Above all else, the camera is the star here. Maybe we should give that credit to the cinematographer (Bridger Nielson), but it is hard to draw that line -- could one have been great without the other? Alan Bacchus said that the film was "smart, well written and genuinely scary". He is right on all three counts. I rarely find horror films scary (I am immune to their nonsense), but I actually had to peek through my fingers at one point. I am embarrassed to say it, but this is true. Well done!
The Pact is an effective and very creepy, at times, supernatural mystery chiller that achieves a lot of atmosphere on it's small budget. Flick is about Annie (Caity Lotz) who arrives at her recently deceased mother's house to meet her sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) for the funeral. But Nicole is missing and soon strange things start happening in the house and Annie finds clues about their mother, a mysterious woman and a serial killer case from decades before. What does it all mean and what does this supernatural presence want? Pact is very effective at times and actually provides us with a nice mystery to go along with the things that go bump in the night. The atmosphere of dread is well maintained and the cast, including genre vet Casper Van Dien as a grizzled cop, all do well with the material. There are some very spooky sequences and some good scares and it all leads to a tense and suspenseful last act. The FX are refreshingly all in camera and work well, only a few dragging effects get overused a bit by the end. An enjoyable little horror/mystery from writer/director Nicholas McCarthy.
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