Director: Nicholas McCarthy
Screenplay: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins
Running time: 86 minutes
Release date: 1 October 2012
When their mother dies, Annie (Lotz) receives a telephone call from her estranged sister Nicole (Bruckner), asking her to come home and help her sort out the funeral and estate. Annie reluctantly agrees but when she arrives, Nicole is nowhere to be found. Putting it down to a relapse by her former drug addict sibling, Annie soon discovers that there’s something going on in her deceased mother’s house.
Still haunted by horrible childhood memories where the sisters were shut in a cramped cloak-room, Annie starts to hear strange noises and begins to worry that the house is home to a malevolent force, perhaps belonging to her mother. After she receives a pretty nasty beating from what appears to be a poltergeist and another woman goes missing – this time the babysitter for Nicole’s daughter – Annie flees the house and looks for help from local cop Bill Creek (Van Dien). At first he struggles to believe that two grown women can just go missing and suspects Annie is involved somehow.
As Annie researches and looks into her family’s past, some disturbing facts come to light that put a new perspective on everything that she thinks she knows. Most notably, a medium called Stevie (Hudson, in a creepy turn) enters the house and almost immediately freaks out, but is either unable or unwilling to tell Annie what she found out. Annie continues to investigate, even finding a hidden room that she never remembered being there when she was a child, before the eventual reveal occurs and makes everything that little bit clearer to both the character and the audience.
There are some really well orchestrated jump scares in the film as well as some neat ideas. The Pact successfully takes the haunted house sub-genre and adds a new corporeal twist to the proceedings which doesn’t feel rushed or shoved in. Instead it offers a new layer to the events that have unfolded. Combining the ghostly scares and events with the very real life reason for said moments should appear jarring and the film should fail, but instead the ideas meld together well and create something fresh. The characters act pretty realistically, so there’ll be no shouting at the screen when they make their decisions of what to do next.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with this film, it only pushes the narrative on to a satisfying climax. With Halloween fast approaching, you’d do well to add this to your list of horrors to watch.
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