Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper van Dien, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins and Agnes Bruckner
Written and Directed by Nicholas McCarthy
The second half of the first night of TAD’s summer screenings brought us the Sundance hit The Pact. Billed as a creepy supernatural house based horror, The Pact hits a lot of similar notes as this year’s Lovely Molly did. But while both films deliver strong performances from their female leads, does The Pact succeed where Lovely Molly faltered?
Nicole (Bruckner) is attempting to prepare for the funeral of her late estranged mother. Nicole is in her mother’s house as she calls her sister Annie (Lotz) for help, yet Annie wants absolutely nothing to do with the funeral or her mother’s house. Later while talking to her young daughter via laptop Nicole notices weird things occurring in the house that appear to be emanating from a hallway closet and then she promptly disappears. The disappearance and pleadings of her cousin Liz (Rose Perkins) prompt Annie to do the thing she does not want to do, go back to the house she grew up in. Liz arrives for the funeral with Nicole’s daughter Eva, whom she has been taking care of while her mother has been missing, and the three stay overnight in the house. During the night strange supernatural occurrences happen that result in Annie fleeing with Eva as Liz disappears just as Nicole did. Annie goes to the police station where she encounters the unpredictable detective Creek (Van Dien) who while reluctant to believe her story, agrees to go investigate the house and take some pictures. Upon returning, Annie and Creek discover a hidden room that Annie, despite living in the house for 16 years, had no idea even existed. Annie turns to Stevie (Hudson), a former classmate in high school who has developed a sense for the supernatural, to see what she can sense in the house and gets more than she bargained for. The scares continue to the big twist finale that changes the complexion of the film entirely.
The Pact’s impact lies almost squarely on the shoulders of the talented Lotz. Her Annie is angry, scared, determined and resilient, all encompassed in tiny package. Her performance is the reason The Pact works when it does, and the intimate moments we get with her character are when the film is at its best. Unfortunately everything else outside of that plays unevenly as some performances work and some don’t. And one performance is all together awful, that of Casper Van Dien’s. Completely miscast and never believable, Van Dien’s performance may also have lead this film directly to the VOD and Direct to DVD market without a theatrical release. Brukner, the other person cast to cash in on name value, fares better even if it’s a very brief performance. Director Nicholas McCarthy does manage to fill the house with enough impending doom and creepiness factor that most of the stuff involving the house directly is a success.
Not a total win, The Pact is still an enjoyable enough ride to warrant a recommend even if it’s a mild one. The Pact may hit most of the same notes as Lovely Molly, but it definitely manages those notes more astutely.
TAD’s summer screenings run for a second night on Wednesday July 11th with the Sci-Fi/Comedy/Horror mash up Detention at 7pm and the Sundance midnight programme runaway smash hit horror anthology V/H/S at 9:45pm. Tickets and info at the links.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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