DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: SUNDANCE 2012: The Pact

Sunday 22 January 2012

SUNDANCE 2012: The Pact

The Pact (2012) dir. Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Sam Ball, Agnes Bruckner


By Alan Bacchus

The Pact is a smart, well written and genuinely scary haunted house movie with equal parts B-movie pastiche and visceral horror movie thrills.

After her sister disappears inside her own house, Annie is forced to return to her childhood home to play surrogate parent to her 8-year-old daughter. It doesn't take long before she starts hearing things in the house. A creak in the floor, closet doors opening inexplicably, broken picture frames on the ground and maddening nightmares are the stuff of horror films 101. Yet director Nicholas McCarthy is so damned resourceful and creative within his tiny spaces, it's a marvel.

There's also a heavy hand at work directing his actors with blockhead subtlety, egregiously over-killed music stings and overly lit texture-less cinematography, which is so bright it reminds us of a soft core porno film. But hell, Casper Van Dien is in the picture, which means we can't watch it with too much seriousness. It takes a while to set up the story, but there's a strong backstory established that is weighted equally with a dangerous presence in the present.

However silly and obnoxious the performances get, McCarthy absolutely floors us with his stunning horror images and nail-biting set pieces. As bad as the film is good, there is some major genre talent in this guy's bones.

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