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The Pact - Review

The Pact

Review by Jason Palmer

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

STARTING life as an 11min short film debuting at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, The Pact is a curious project from writer/director Nicholas McCarthy.

Now taking shape as a fully-fledged movie, it attempts to do more than regurgitate a tried and tested ghost story. It adds a very decent thriller-element into the mix to create a perplexing but enjoyable horror romp that certainly leaves an impression.

After the death of her estranged mother, Nicole Barlow goes back to her childhood home to sort out her affairs and organise the funeral. Her sister, Annie, refuses to go back home though, with past memories of a broken childhood just too painful to revisit.

But when Nicole goes missing, Annie has no choice but to return to the house where supernatural events soon start to occur and Annie is forced to piece together a bizarre puzzle to find out exactly what happened to her sister while uncovering a dark family secret best left buried.

The Pact boasts some great set-pieces that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, most of which play on the notion that someone or something is in the house and which are highlighted very effectively by the roving-cam shots that selectively choose to only show you part of the room in question. This steadily heightens the dread and makes the film worthy of your time.

Special mention should also go to the house in question too – this isn’t a sprawling mansion but a tight, claustrophobic home with short corridors and small rooms.

It makes the uneasiness more relatable to a real world audience when the hauntings aren’t taking place in a massive, cavernous property.

Caity Lotz and her co-stars all hand in very strong performances, with Lotz certainly giving the role a believability that is sorely lacking in genre pictures of a similar ilk.

Casper Van Dien (remember him from Starship Troopers?) does very well as a sympathetic cop trying to unravel the mystery and Haley Hudson dutifully obliges the weird stakes as a troubled psychic.

On the downside, The Pact has a few too many logical errors to be remembered as a true genre classic but it should nevertheless be commended for trying something a little different.

The shift in tone between all-out ghost story and scary thriller keeps the film interesting and coupled with Lotz’s stellar performance it’s a surprisingly effective mid-level scarefest.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 89mins
UK Release Date: June 8, 2012