The Pact is essentially your typical haunted house/ghost story with all of the usual shenanigans taking place – mysterious disappearances (check), lights flickering out (check), people getting thrown around the house (check), a psychic visiting the place and then freaking out (check), Ouija board (check), photographing the ghost (check) and finally, everybody’s favourite, no one believing the main woman who tries to explain about the ghostly activity. Whilst the expression states that I shouldn’t hate the player, but I should hate the game, it does get a little frustrating to watch a film that you could have sworn you have seen several times before. There are a few creepy moments in it, but that’s hardly a compliment.
I felt that the plot of this one was rather lacking if I’m being honest. I suppose The Pact just tried to be clever by incorporating a ghost element with a traditional murder element, but this wasn’t done well enough really. It wasn’t done well at all. In fact, there were plot holes a plenty which left me feeling unsatisfied. Firstly, if ‘Judas’ killed loads of women, then why did just that one try and contact Annie? And why did the ghost choose to terrify Annie to convey the message? Surely there are better, more efficient methods to have gotten her point across. How did Annie never notice the holes in the walls? She lived in the house for her entire childhood and never saw the gaping holes in all of the walls. How is that even possible? How come the police didn’t deem it necessary to actually investigate the mysterious disappearances? You’d have thought that they would have searched the house more thoroughly – you know what police are like! Not even they noticed the damn holes in the walls. It really is totally absurd. Even the title of the movie itself is somewhat of a head scratcher. Maybe I’m just picking unnecessary holes, but come on! I’m only saying things that the writer or director should have said long before the movie was actually made.
A good thing about this film though, is that it managed to have some scary moments without resorting to the use of elaborate CGI or ultra violence. The horror used was actually very simple and relied more on building up atmosphere to create the tension. It wasn’t excessively gory either, which it very easily could have been (what with the murderer side of things), although perhaps a bit more ‘action’ would have spiced the film up a tad. I think that it could have been made really quite terrifying just by adding more ‘things’ – most of the scenes seemed to be just Annie (played by Caity Lotz) on her own in the house. I’m not saying that she did a bad job of it, but it isn’t exactly exciting to watch either.
If it’s a ghost story you’re after then perhaps checking out The Woman in Black would be better for you. If it’s more of a murder and family related story you’re interested in then perhaps you should check out The Amityville Horror instead (there’s an original and remake, take your pick). Either way, The Pact doesn’t deliver much of a punch. I do see what it tried to do and it is indeed a shame that it was not successful with it. Considering this was director Nicholas McCarthy’s first feature length movie, I guess it was a pretty decent effort. I would be curious to see his short (of the same name) which presumably was the stepping stone that inspired him to do this one. Once he develops his skills some more (writing, in particular), then he definitely has the potential to make a big name for himself in the horror film industry.
Anyway, ultimately I came away from this film feeling disappointed, which is bizarre considering that I didn’t even have any pre-conceptions about it. To me, it just seemed ordinary. Just a run-of-the-mill horror movie, and a forgettable one, I’m afraid. I wasn’t too sure I liked the rather ambiguous ending either (featuring an eye opening…dun, dun, dun) and I really do hope that this isn’t an attempt to open the way for a sequel. I suppose basically what I’m saying is that this is a last resort kinda film. Sorry.