- Director: Nicholas McCarthy
- Genre: Horror, Thriller
- Details: US / 88 mins / 16
With its unpredictable twists and turns, this low budget horror from a first-time writer-director is an engaging affair. Pity about the Home & Away dialogue, though.
When her mother dies, former junkie and single mum Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) moves into the house to tie up some loose ends. While Skyping late one night, her young daughter innocently asks, 'Who is that behind you?' Nicole spins around but, hey, no one's there. Hmm. Someone had to be there, though, as Nicole disappears that night. Enter estranged sister Annie (Mad Men's Lotz) who tries and piece together the clues to her sister's vanishing and inadvertently digs up buried memories of parental abuse in the process. But when Annie realises she's not alone in the house she asks local cop (Starship Troopers' Van Dien) and spirit guide (Hudson) to help.
Nicholas McCarthy messes about somewhat with horror expectations: the setting is an ordinary house in the suburbs, not a Victorian rectory on a hill outside town, and a lot of scenes take place in broad daylight. Despite the daytime setting, McCarthy's obvious love for ghost stories shine through and the director has a real knack of slowly cranking up the tension.
The spooky bits work and McCarthy gives the proceedings a real mystery, keeping the audience guessing - you'll guess wrong but it's fun guessing anyway – but it's the bits in between, when the characters are asked to voice the dodgy dialogue that things fall down. The Pact gets too Soapy and all momentum slips away. The acting can be on the amateurish side too. With his perfect hair and unshaven chin, Van Dien's cop looks like he came second in a Viggo Mortensen If He Was In Miami Vice lookalike contest, while Lutz looks like she blew away the opposition at the recent Young Gillian Anderson competition.
The ending too is a confusing one. McCarthy panics and fires every idea he has at the screen in the hope that something will work but it just falls apart one silly twist after another. Some subplots are left hanging, and what pact is the title referring to remains the mystery.
Review by Gavin Burke | 11:52 | Tuesday 22nd May 2012 | Movie Review
The poster for The Pact tries to oversell it with excitable quotes and an image that recalls a memorable sequence in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street. Actually, this is a smart, effective indie chiller that relies more on old-fashioned scares. The plot follows a young woman from a broken and troubled family, as she returns home for her mother's funeral. She finds her sister has disappeared from the family house and she suddenly starts seeing things - ghostly figures in photographs, severed heads, a body floating just below the ceiling... She delves deeper into the family history to discover a dark secret... Directed with Hitchcockian flair by newcomer Nicholas McCarthy and featuring a convincing performance by Melissa George lookalike Caity Lotz, the film is a slow-burner but its occasional scares are well-placed. It's almost too low-key at times, but it certainly holds your attention. It has echoes of Stir Of Echoes, so if you liked that film then you'll probably like this too.Posted 22:41 | Wed 30th May 2012
I'm not going to bore people in writing an essay calling out to be noticed, i'll make this simple....Low budget movie, absolutley Crap!! What you see in the trailers is what you see in the movie!!Posted 22:11 | Thu 7th Jun 2012
film buff this is for comments. If you want to write your own reviews open an account on Rotten Tomatoes. You do this on every film review!Posted 11:54 | Sat 9th Jun 2012
I do write reviews on other websites, but Entertainment.ie has an exclusivity requirement for their user reviews that other websites don't have. That's why I post here instead. Fair enough though - I'll revert to comments in future.Posted 12:24 | Sun 10th Jun 2012
I'll start by saying that I disagree about The Pact being crap - I quite liked it. It's no masterpiece, but it's decent enough.Posted 12:25 | Sun 10th Jun 2012
I totally agree with FilmBuff76, this is a good solid movie full of classic cinematic scare techniques but in a less than typical horror context and this makes for brilliant viewing. I wouldn't call it low budget really, but it does shy away from the less scary 'see it all' special/digital effects most mainstream directs go for. Also, IrishChick, entertainment.ie is a crowd sourced website and this is why I like it, I enjoy reviews to contradict or compliment the professional one. Keep them coming FilmBuffPosted 19:00 | Tue 12th Jun 2012
"who tries and piece together the clues." Nice grammar. God almighty, the quality of writing is getting worse on this site.Posted 03:20 | Thu 14th Jun 2012
"Viggo Mortensen If He Was In Miami Vice lookalike contest". What the hell??? Vigg Mortensen was in Miami Vice you jackass. He appeared in an episode called Red Tape. Does one need a minus IQ to get employed on this site??Posted 03:23 | Thu 14th Jun 2012
Yes, Bertaut, because Gavin should've known about a random episode of Miami Vice. Calm down you idiot and go watch your Miami Vice box-set with your sleeves rolled upPosted 12:16 | Thu 14th Jun 2012
And a minus IQ is impossible, Bertaut.Posted 14:56 | Thu 14th Jun 2012
Hey FilmBuff76,feck de begrudgers and review what ya want!!!Posted 17:50 | Thu 14th Jun 2012
Thought this was a brutal film paranormal activity was much better and i thought that was brutal tooPosted 16:17 | Tue 19th Jun 2012
Likewise was expecting the title to have some meaning in the film,.. not a great movie,.. but not the worst either,.. scary,.. watched it allPosted 13:59 | Sun 24th Jun 2012
Log in to leave a comment
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content