Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Horror-Day 2: The Pact (2012)

(dir. Nicholas McCarthy)

*First time viewing

         The Pact centers on Annie, a young woman whose stay at her deceased mother’s house places her in the middle of a supernatural mystery involving her mother’s long kept secret and a hidden room. McCarthy’s film is part ghost story and part slasher film, though neither of these horror elements are used to their full potential. One problem is that most of the film takes place in the daylight, and the flat cinematography strips the film of much personality. The scenes in the dark are more effective, but an over reliance on flickering lights and creaking doors is too familiar. Where McCarthy is most effective is in the brief dream sequences and an eerie moment with the film’s version of Google Maps. It is in these moments that play with the audience’s attention to images that the film’s dalliance with the surreal has the most impact.

      In terms of story, the film starts out strong with the promise of a compelling central mystery but the film’s reliance on easy answers from clichéd supporting characters quickly strip away the mystique. Once the answers are revealed, nagging questions of story-logic start to poke holes in the film. The central twist is no doubt surprising, though not entirely earned. The lack of motivation in the central backstory regarding Annie’s mother lead to a rather unsatisfying and quick ending that seems to have very little fallout. The Pact is really intriguing idea but one delivered without a strong grasp of how to unravel mystery while creating tension.

Scare Factor: 2/5  The film contains a few genuinely creepy moments and images but even that can’t save the film from disappointing climax and cheap final shot.

**Available to watch on Netflix Instant.

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