Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Pact' (2012)
Is the pact for a merry-go-round?
OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE WAS SO FUCKING BORING! It didn't fail my "30 Minute Rule," but really, it should have. This movie jumps right into the plot, and the really creepy stuff starts happening no more than 15 minutes in... but then, there's just this fucking lull till the last 15 minutes. I really am thinking about changing the 30 Minute Rule to "if nothing happens for over 30 minutes." Housebound had the same damn problem. Actually, this movie is a lot like Housebound without the comedy, to the point were I had wondered if Housebound was as spoof of this movie.
There was just too much fucking padding. The damn movie goes round in circles, constantly adding new layers that are completely inconsequential or just flat of belaboring of the actual plot. I can't really get into it without spoilers, but there are too many scenes where a discovery is made and it's just fucking ignored while they dick around with something else for the next 20 minutes.
Why the fuck is this movie called The Pact? Did anyone make a pact with anyone or anything during this movie? Now, it kinda reminds me of one episode of Friday the 13th, the television series. Had they followed that model, The Pact would have made sense. Without going into spoilers, I'm talking about the episode with the two children that lure other children into their play house, a play house eats their playmates, and for each sacrifice, it provides food and shelter. So that's where I thought this was all going... and the reason this is not a spoiler, that is not at all where this was all going. So why the fuck is this movie named The Pact?
The acting was not exactly great. Not terrible—actually, typical for most horror I guess—but with the tone of the movie, it just wasn't good enough. They clearly wanted this movie taken seriously and not just as horror, but the actors weren't good enough to compliment it's serious tone it. They constantly come off as silly or melodramatic. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is spot on and the writing is actually quite good. This movie has a way of making you as uncomfortable as the lead actress is supposed to be emoting. I shouldn't give her such a hard time. Every now and then she pulled it off, it just wasn't consistent, and with a movie like this, consistency is actually pretty important.
THANK GOD this wasn't the "Scooby-Doo Effect." I might have thrown my shoe through the TV screen, and then my wife would be none too happy with me. When I realized that Housebound literally followed the exact same plot, I worried it would be the same outcome. It was not. There were actual ghosts, they were actually trying to communicate with the main character, and the person living in the walls was actually the serial killer. So the outcome is almost the exact opposite from Housebound. Turns out, mother dearest was letting her known serial killer brother stay hidden in the house and would basically give him "access" to her daughters when they were naughty as a REALLY fucked up means of punishment. They don't say or show anything explicitly, but they do a pretty good job of inferring it.
Long story short, both sisters suppress the memory, so when mommy dearest dies, they have no idea what's waiting in store for them when they go to deal with her affairs. The first sister pretty much dies right in the beginning of the movie, so it's enough to string you along, but there's so much fucking padding in between. The second sister is given a clue by the ghost that has something to do with this church, and it takes her almost five new discoveries to finally go to the fucking church. Her and a cop discover a hidden room in the house after the first sister AND her nanny go missing, and there is NEVER an investigation into it. The second sister finds out that her mother had a brother, and he was likely a serial killer, but it isn't until she goes to the park where she suddenly comes up with the idea to MAYBE investigate what happened to him... and around and around and around. FUCK!
The movie tries to use the fact that there really are ghosts in the house to distract you from the fact that there's likely someone living in the house. The whole problem is that some junkie medium pretty much explains it to you halfway through the movie, so you'd have to be daft to fucking miss it.
And another fucking thing! So the first sister and the nanny disappear in the first 30 minutes of the movie, sticking the second sister with the first sister's kid. So this is something that WOULDN'T be padding, that WOULD be relevant to the plot, that they sorta just glance over, push off to the side, and then completely fucking ignore for the rest of the movie.
I know I said this movie has great writing, and it appears everything I mentioned from that point on would seem to contradict this statement. But there is a subtle difference between bad pacing and bad writing, even though the two are deeply intertwined. I mentioned before that a lot of this movie's setting is "inferred." One, I have to give the writer/director plenty of credit for not doing the overly showy, completely unnecessary, graphically violent rape scene. That would have been completely tasteless. What was done instead was done right. Furthermore, while the rest was padded, the revelations were also never too showy, and while they went in circles, they were otherwise well-crafted.
I still can't fucking recommend this movie though. It's just too fucking boring. Were it not for the soundtrack and added atmosphere, most of this movie would have just been bland nonsense to fill in for the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes.