“Always the innocent are the first victims, so it has been for ages past, so it is now.” -J.K. Rowling
When a movie is this well made for the budget it was given, a meager $400,000, it speaks volumes about the clear passion put into what really matters when it comes to making a fantastic horror film. The Pact is a movie that premiered in 2012 and at least for myself fell well under my radar. Thanks to several recommendations I finally purchased the movie and was absolutely thrilled with the ride I went on in a tidy, to-the-point, 90 minute horror onslaught.
If you’re looking for a ghost story then The Pact will likely scratch that itch but this film and its compelling story allows this to become something better than just a run-of-the-mill spooky tale with spooky scenes pieced together. This is a disturbing film with implications of impending doom that are so rampant several of these revelations don’t even become apparent until the final ten minutes. Once you learn the overall propellant for this story, the entire film takes on a completely new shape even more terrifying upon a second viewing. While a major reveal moment won’t really be as big of a deal after a first watch, it’s the impact of that reveal going into the second watch that changes the entire experience knowing what is happening just behind the metaphorical curtains.
Featuring a mostly unknown cast, The Pact is a story of murder and betrayal and attempting to right the wrongs of a tarnished family history. It ponders if the mistakes of our relatives, however close to us, should be the responsibility of their progeny, us. It just happens to do so in a matter that is haunting and at times upsetting. When the supernatural occurs it does so out of a violent occurrence that sets this entire holy terror of a story in motion.
In the spirit of what I am now certain is my favorite kind of horror, the psychological, The Pact explores the stresses of complicated, violent family pasts whose victims have never fully recovered. A kind of PTSD emanating from the actions of a highly disturbed individual. It both celebrates the importance of family and detests the culpability that inevitably stems from simply having the same last name. Imagine the pain from the loss of a loved one compounded by the nature of their death being one of a horrific nature such as murder. I’m not sure the word pain is an adequate description of such a hell. Now imagine it’s your kinship that committed such an atrocious act. It’s a lose lose scenario any way you approach it. It is said when one life is taken abruptly they take with them the lives of countless others left behind in the deathwake. The Pact takes a paranormal vantage point of such atrocities being given a second chance at closure, seemingly a happy turn of events, no? No. It is ugly, unforgiving, and unfortunately still very much alive and creating new havoc on the unsuspecting dumped on with all the burden of a fucked up family tree.
The creator of this particular helltale is well aware of his audience’s imagination being far more intricate than anything he could possibly come up with. He takes a less is more approach relying on strong performances and the rampant creative power of those watching his movie hopefully with an open mind. While there are jump scares they are never false, always providing a source of genuine terror, something that actually demands fear and proves to be a veritable threat.
The Pact is small in stature but massive in discomforting horror. It is lonely, isolating its main character, a young woman determined to uncover things she’ll likely never recover from in any meaningful way. She is strong but faces the weaknesses that made her so distant from her loved ones in nearly every aspect of her life from immediate family to potential lovers. This confrontation will take her to the brink of insanity as she is plagued by grotesque secrets that have remained hidden far too long. She must do so alone but with help from an unlikely source, alone but not so much I suppose.
This is a fantastic take on family dynamics residing in the macabre, always challenging and threatening anyone brazen enough to dig any deeper than a shallow grave. If you dig, dig deep enough for two.
Rated R For: some strong bloody violence and language
Runtime: 89 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Haley Hudson, Petra Wright
Directed By: Nicholas McCarthy
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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