I always see the poster for The Pact while browsing Netflix and always have a moment’s pause where I think I should fire it up but inevitably I always end up passing it up for Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Man vs Food or Kitten Party or whatever other nonsense I tend to watch on Netflix. Not this time though! This time I saw the poster and I clicked the damn button and I watched the whole damn thing! Turns out, it was pretty worth my time!
The Pact is a pretty low key ghost story, largely taking place in one location and with one central character. Our main character is Annie, played very well by Caity Lotz, who is back in her hometown in order to both attend the funeral of her mother and find out why her sister has gone missing. It’s a really big bummer of a trip. She stays at her mom’s place while in town and it doesn’t take long before ghosts start to be assholes and mess around with her. Or is there more going on?! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
As with a lot of haunted house stories, The Pact doesn’t do anything particularly original but with horror it’s often less about the originality and more about the actual execution and The Pact knows what the hell it is doing in that department. Right from the very beginning we are given numerous sequences that are loaded with suspense and get a ton of mileage out of this creepy ass house. It’s not a jump scare factory like the recent Annabelle, instead allowing the scares to brew. It can be remarkably effective and this really grabs you and drags you in during the early stages.
Unfortunately things do start to drag in the middle as we are given a side character, a cop played by Casper Van Dien, who feels largely unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. He is here to play the standard “I don’t believe these things you say about ghosts” character as I guess we don’t have the usual skeptical asshole husband to fill that role. It’s so unneeded here that every scene with him, including an extended scene of him searching around the empty house that comes to a pretty meh conclusion, could easily be excised from the film and it would not be affected in the slightest. It feels like padding and yes dropping that stuff would make for a very short movie, but damn would it ever be a tight and awesome experience. I feel bad as Van Dien is solid enough in the role, but I’m sorry sir we don’t really need you for this one.
Thankfully this middle section is made up for in the end as once all the pieces of the puzzle are put together, we are treated to a long and very tense sequence to close out the film. I don’t want to give away anything but I was quite happy with the course the story goes and the end payoff is very effective.
…This is easily my shortest review yet but I don’t what else there is to say. Great beginning, great end, blah middle. Apparently this movie was originally a short and now it makes a lot more sense as this definitely does feel like a movie trying to expand itself out to be full length, it just doesn’t always succeed. The good outweighs the bad by a wide margin though so I think you should definitely check this one out. I see now that a sequel is coming up and while the poster is quite terrible I will absolutely check that one as they have earned my trust after this first one.