Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
Some doors should never be opened.
After their mother passes away, sisters Nicole and Annie reluctantly return to their childhood home to pay their last respects. While staying overnight in the house, the sisters sense a mysterious presence in their midst: noises startling them in the night, objects moving about, a fallen picture of an unknown woman posed next to their mother. Annie begins experiencing a series of intense and disturbing dreams - visions that lead her to uncover something terrible about her mother's past that is finally revealing itself.
Scary things are always personal. I personally get freaked out and scared by most ghost related things. Spectral photography, EVP, you know that kind of stuff. However, more often than not films that deal with this are riddled with cliches and drown themselves in ridiculous plots trying to explain away everything and therefore not scary.
This film sticks close to the rules, but manages to lift itself above mediocrity with a surprising narrative and some genuinely creepy imagery, all soaked in a creepy atmosphere that just doesn't seem to want to leave.
And that's the thing, when I'm grabbed by a ghost story's atmosphere without constantly getting my face rubbed in it, it…
Mommy! Who's that behind you?
I'm an odd duck when it comes to ghost stories/haunted house films. There's very few I like and the more recent ones that have come out the last few years, I've hated despite them being critically well received. This one on the other hand seems to have mixed reviews by critics and fans, yet I really dug it.
Writer/director Nicholas McCarthy makes his feature film debut here by expanding upon his own short film of the same name. First I have to say that the way he opens the film is brilliant and probably the strongest segment of the entire experience and all it involves is showing an open door to a pitch black…
You may well find The Pact billed as a horror, when in truth Nicholas McCarthy's debut directorial & written effort is far more of a psychological chiller with a supernatural coating. It squirrels down what on the face of it appears to be a 'haunted house' kind of tale through a very personal, very condensed lens to focus on the history of a recently deceased mother & her two daughters, principally Caity Lotz's Annie, who begins to discover her mother's house holds a particularly creepy secret. Though it's perhaps a little too sparse and in places tries a touch too hard to evoke mood, what The Pact does have going for it is how well it strips away the sensationalism of other…
After her abusive mother dies, Annie (Caity Lotz) reluctantly returns to her childhood home to settle her affairs, only to find a hostile, invisible presence there and a mystery related to a secret, sealed-off room in this truly scary, old-fashioned horror film.
Written and directed by newcomer Nicholas McCarthy, THE PACT is clearly the work of someone who has watched a whole lot of ghost stories and knows what separates the good ones from the bad ones. This is already established in the first 10 minutes, which is maybe the most effective and scary opening scene in a horror film since THE RING. After that, the story unfolds in a way that is undoubtedly familiar to fans of the genre,…
Some decently creepy stuff, some good not-too-cheap jump scares, some effective atmosphere, some solid direction. But I still spent the whole movie thinking it was kind of crappy.
I'll give this a pass, though, because I think a lot of people would actually dig it.
First thought: nice wallpaper.
It certainly doesn't waste any time: early on the mood is set, and it's proven that skyping is very effective in scary movies. This emphasizes the great use of modern technology here to create an eerie atmosphere in this old-style ghost stories, for instance not some old black and white photographs are shown, but digital high end cameras and cell phones.
This, plus the terrific combination of the detective-side of the story (not the cop but her search) with the supernatural creepiness definetely distinguishes this from the pack of similar ghost movies out there.
I have a weakness for movies with a deep study of geography of interior spaces. This is one of those movies. A wise use of dim lights, shadows and darkness in a usual plot with one interesting and effective variation.
Horror movie that has plenty of atmosphere and suspense for it's central mystery, even if the reveal itself is a letdown.
As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother's death, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.
Although it has some style and atmosphere, the movie is basically a standard haunted house story with a silly plot.
This film didn't earn its title card font.
While this may not be as original or as unpredictable as the Babadook, I think The Pact is more frightening. It creeped me out from the beginning and pretty much had me to the end.
It opens with Nicole trying to video chat with her daughter. Nicole is at her mother's house preparing for her mother's funeral. During the conversation, Nicole's daughter said something that I knew was coming, yet it still scared me pretty good. That usually is a sign of a successful horror movie to me.
Soon Nicole's sister Annie comes to the house and more weird shit happens. Casper Van Dien shows up looking pretty ragged as a detective, and you know the character typical to haunted…
Somewhere along the lines Nicholas McCarthy got more interested in doing as many top-down shots into Caity Lotz's cleavage as possible than making an actually good movie.
THE PACT makes a lot of mistakes, but none so damaging as being unable to tell when it's stretching a scene to create a tension and when it's just stretching a scene. Hint: It only ever does the latter, begging for an editor to snip away all the scenes the director thinks scream "ISN'T THIS TENSE?!?!" but in fact make the audience scream a notable line from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL: "GET ON WITH IT!"
The technical stuff is really well done. Cinematography, mise en scene, sound and music, effects etc all excellently crafted. The story less so because it's all plot and no character.
Once you ignore the awful dialogue, pointless exposition, paper-thin characters and nagging plotholes, The Pact isn't too bad. What I appreciated most was the films solid ability to both build and retain tension throughout.
It's a shame that wasn't enough to save it. But hey, there's always time to improve!
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