I must admit I came to this movie having no great hopes for The Pact - it had a generic name and an even more generic poster featuring a cliched spooky face pushing through a wall, and knew next to nothing about it. However I was in the mood for a spot of horror and so decided to give it a whirl.
But I'm very glad I did, for The Pact is a superior haunted house thriller movie. There's some great spooky action and an intriguing mystery, and both are well supported by great performances. Caity Lotz is excellent as our heroine who discovers her recent deceased mother has been harboring dark secrets, and Casper Van Diem is brilliant as the grizzled detective investigating disappearances linked to the family. The cinematography is excellent too - both the film looks gorgeous and delivers some memorable imagery and set-pieces. These lush visuals are paired with a very well executed soundtrack, with the music adding to the atmosphere but never overly intruding. In many ways you could say The Pact is a chiller for the Drive generation.
However I would stress that this is a horror/thriller and that while we have plenty of chills, some viewers may be left a little cold when it movies into more down to earth thriller/suspense territory in the last act. Now if you enjoy movies that similarly meld together ghost and crime stories such as Stir of Echoes (1999) and The Changeling (1980), you'll find The Pact a marvelous addition to that subgenre. Now that's not to say that the movie in any way loses steam in the second half, just that is segues from more supernatural chills into tense thriller suspense. However if you're looking for a more pure horror experience, this shift may leave you feeling the first half of the movie was more effective when it was more of a ghost story.
Overall though The Pact is a great little movie, smart where so many are dumb, and beautifully crafted where so many others are thrown together. If you're looking for a movie that delivers chills and intrigue, The Pact is just the ticket.
JIM MOON, 14th September 2013