Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Pact

Though The Pact may be uneven, it’s an effective ghost story that’ll, uh, haunt you.

July 5, 2012

-By David Guzman


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1352568-Pact_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The best thing The Pact has going for it is the way it manages to play its cards right, despite the fact that it doesn’t have many aces up its sleeve. Given how almost everything here depends on action rather than suspense, you’d think writer-director Nicholas McCarthy would’ve had a hard time making a supernatural thriller like this work, but even the holes in its atmosphere add to the experience. Seeing as the house at the center of the whole thing is so quiet that nearly every corner seems mundane, finding out there’s evil afoot can be quite a shock, to say the least.

Then again, considering how much time Annie (Caity Lotz) spent growing up in this place, it figures her homecoming as an adult would make her uneasy, particularly after the death of her mother. On top of everything, she can’t get in touch with her sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner), and starts to worry after tracking down a cell-phone she inexplicably abandoned. Annie reminds herself that she pulls off these disappearing acts all the time—something cousin Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins) learned when she ended up taking care of Eva (Dakota Bright), the girl Nicole gave birth to.

It’s plain to see that she and Annie have plenty to talk about after the funeral’s over and Liz takes Eva to her mother’s house, but the family reunion hits a snag when Annie wakes up and finds Liz gone. Between two disappearances and the ghost she unexpectedly makes the acquaintance of, she’s got all the reason she needs to grab Eva and head to the police station to explain everything to Officer Creek (Casper Van Dien). As skeptical as he is, he joins her for a drive to her mother’s house to see what all the fuss is about...and discovers there’s more to this place than meets the eye. Nevertheless, since there isn’t much he can do except take pictures, she’ll have to go out on a limb by asking a ghost whisperer (Haley Hudson) to find out what business a spirit would have in a place as unspirited as this.

While McCarthy’s to blame for the shortage of ambiance here—as well as the uncertain motive one character has for tying up an unconscious candidate for murder, who apparently needs to be awake for the slashing to begin—he musters intrigue through efficient shots that allow viewers to discover everything rather than lead them by the hand. He gets engaging performances out of the cast, too, even if Lotz occasionally acts as though the action’s happening around her rather than to her. Still, that’s one luxury The Pact rarely lets you have.


Film Review: The Pact

Though The Pact may be uneven, it’s an effective ghost story that’ll, uh, haunt you.

July 5, 2012

-By David Guzman


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1352568-Pact_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

The best thing The Pact has going for it is the way it manages to play its cards right, despite the fact that it doesn’t have many aces up its sleeve. Given how almost everything here depends on action rather than suspense, you’d think writer-director Nicholas McCarthy would’ve had a hard time making a supernatural thriller like this work, but even the holes in its atmosphere add to the experience. Seeing as the house at the center of the whole thing is so quiet that nearly every corner seems mundane, finding out there’s evil afoot can be quite a shock, to say the least.

Then again, considering how much time Annie (Caity Lotz) spent growing up in this place, it figures her homecoming as an adult would make her uneasy, particularly after the death of her mother. On top of everything, she can’t get in touch with her sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner), and starts to worry after tracking down a cell-phone she inexplicably abandoned. Annie reminds herself that she pulls off these disappearing acts all the time—something cousin Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins) learned when she ended up taking care of Eva (Dakota Bright), the girl Nicole gave birth to.

It’s plain to see that she and Annie have plenty to talk about after the funeral’s over and Liz takes Eva to her mother’s house, but the family reunion hits a snag when Annie wakes up and finds Liz gone. Between two disappearances and the ghost she unexpectedly makes the acquaintance of, she’s got all the reason she needs to grab Eva and head to the police station to explain everything to Officer Creek (Casper Van Dien). As skeptical as he is, he joins her for a drive to her mother’s house to see what all the fuss is about...and discovers there’s more to this place than meets the eye. Nevertheless, since there isn’t much he can do except take pictures, she’ll have to go out on a limb by asking a ghost whisperer (Haley Hudson) to find out what business a spirit would have in a place as unspirited as this.

While McCarthy’s to blame for the shortage of ambiance here—as well as the uncertain motive one character has for tying up an unconscious candidate for murder, who apparently needs to be awake for the slashing to begin—he musters intrigue through efficient shots that allow viewers to discover everything rather than lead them by the hand. He gets engaging performances out of the cast, too, even if Lotz occasionally acts as though the action’s happening around her rather than to her. Still, that’s one luxury The Pact rarely lets you have.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

A Promise
Film Review: A Promise

Handsomely filmed but wan period romance. More »

Final Member
Film Review: The Final Member

Breezy documentary about the aging owner of a small Icelandic museum dedicated to penises and his quest for one last, coveted exhibit is a charmer, thanks to the warmth and sly sense of humor the protagonist brings to his unusual hobby. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here