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The Pact – 6


Director – Nicholas McCarthy

Cast – Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner, Mark Steger, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Sam Ball

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The Pact had been on my queue for a long while, mainly because I was not sure whether the film was really worth watching despite some positive reviews I had read. Well, naturally curiousity eventually got the best of me and I must say that the film had many enjoyable elements that left it nowhere near being a bad film. This was not a great film though, and that comes due to some story and execution issues that never fully reached their potential. The horror is good at times and first time director Nicholas McCarthy does a great job with such a low budget, making for a flick I should have given a watch too much sooner.

Annie has long since moved on from the life her overbearing and abusive mother forced on her and her sister for decades, but in the wake of her mother’s death she decides to return to her childhood home and rekindle with her sibling. Soon after arriving Annie learns that the horrors she suffered are far from over though, as an evil presence has taken residence in the home and has sinister plans for those who step in it.

I have been seeing more and more films like this lately, where the lead protagonist returns to their childhood home after many years to face horrors they thought they had left in their past. Just recently this was the case with Head Trauma, Lovely Molly, and several other films that I have seen this past year. As soon as Annie arrives at her late mother’s home she realizes that something is definitely wrong. Her sister is suspiciously nowhere to be found and there is an odd presence in the home that leaves her feeling uncomfortable, and things only get worse from there. She is harassed by an unseen force within the home, and this unseen force makes for some good horror when it shows up. Several disappearances occur within the home and that means Annie must deal with Detective Bill Creek (Casper Van Dien; Starship Troopers, Sleepy Hollow) as he looks into his suspicions that she has something to do with their disappearances. I personally felt that Det. Creek was a wasted character who only provided a little bit of conflict for the story and eventually burned out without offering much overall. It was little story issues like this that ultimately build up to this film not being a great one and just an OK one at best. I did enjoy that the story did not head into the realm of psychological horror like many others of this type have done, and instead stayed with the supernatural element until the end.

Director Nicholas McCarthy extends his short horror film from a year prior to this full length film a year later, and his direction shows that the guy has talent. His atmosphere is great and he makes positive use of the sets and locations used, with shadows being employed to their full advantage. I mentioned earlier that this piece had a pretty low budget and you know a good director when he/she can make the film appear to have a much higher budget than it does. Despite Casper Van Dien being a decently known actor we are given many lesser actors in this piece, but their acting performances do little to resemble that. I was impressed with the performances and each actor filled their role pretty well, especially the last main character to enter the film during the final act. His execution of the horror was the best thing about his direction, which showed me that McCarthy definitely has what it takes to make it in the genre given he did so well with such a low budget. His use of practical effects was amazing and had me in awe that such scenes could be accomplished from a guy with no feature film experience and only short films under his name. He managed to add a good amount of creepiness to the horror as well, making for a film that I wish had only had a slightly better story.

Overall, The Pact is an alright horror film that sadly could have been better, but the horror was good enough for me to watch and not leave unsatisfied. The story could use some work but it keeps the supernatural element high and McCarthy executes it very well.

Rating: 6/10

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