Struggling to hold her family together after the death of their mother, biker-chick Annie (Caity Lotz) returns to the family home. There she senses a mysterious presence, discovering a terrifying evil spirit that puts her and those closest to her in grave danger. Confronting the spirit and her family's dark secrets from the past, can she break free from this living nightmare...?
A woman returns to her troubled childhood home after her mother’s death to assist in the arrangements for the funeral, despite being largely estranged from her entire family. She joins her niece and cousin in the house after the sudden and strange disappearance of her sister. Yet this mysterious disappearance signals only the very start of the strange and supernatural things that are about to happen in this unhappy family home.
Originally a short that stormed the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 director Nicholas McCarthy has managed to turn this seemingly simply ghost story into a full length feature with a surprisingly amount of success. Slight changes in cast only serve to make the film more engaging and thrilling – though thrill is perhaps an inadequate description here, flaming terrifying might be more accurate as the traditions of the haunted house movie are used to their fullest and scariest extent.
Central character Annie, a loner and travelling motorcyclist, finds herself subject to surreal dreams, whispered bodiless voices and even physical attacks from an unseen person, before she realizes that the supernatural behaviour is an attempt by her deceased mother to let her into a deadly family secret. Throw in a handful of other ghost story stereotypes and you think you’ve got the Pact figured out; until deftly and suddenly a serial killer story emerges from the wood work, along with a basement full of bodies.
Where many films handle a sudden shift in genre very badly, the Pact manages to keep the tension as tight as razor wire throughout its narrative. This overwhelming creepiness and suspense compliments the tone of the story perfectly, sending it into the realms of real old-fashioned horror, where half of the excitement comes from the anticipation rather than the blood shed alone.
Ironically, the calibre of acting in the Pact is far better than that of any blockbuster horror movie I have seen for a long time – the characters have a realism and believability that makes their impending peril even more tangible. Although this would not make it onto my best horrors of all time list it is certainly creepy enough to make you think twice about going to sleep in the dark.