Synyster Graves

Spoilers: The Pact

by on Oct.22, 2012, under Spoiler Alert!

** Disclaimer: This rant includes spoilers so I strongly suggest that if you do actually want to watch this film and attempt to enjoy it by all means but you should probably stop reading this article. This is not designed to ruin everyone else’s enjoyment, but stops them wasting hours of their lives on films I perceived to being a bit poo. While I may not discuss the entire plot, there will be elements whereby any attempt to create a facade by the film will be shattered. You have been warned! **

With it’s relatively creepy trailer I saw all over the television when it was released in the cinema, The Pact was looking like a decent horror film so when it came available for streaming I didn’t hesitate to see what all the fuss was about. As with the Paranormal Activity films, this film had people terrified in the cinema. So the horror fan within me decided to sit down last night and enjoy a good scare. What I got was about an hour and a half of my life I’m not getting back.

Why It’s Crap

This reason can be summed up in a sentence, it’s ridiculously random. The beginning seemed to set the scene well with a woman called Nicole trying to settle all the loose ends after her mother has passed away, albeit being totally immersed in stereotypical and frankly cliched horror film ambience including flickering lights, feint bumps in the distance and shitty wifi signal when you’re on some VoIP chat. The woman “vanishes” and the biker chick sister Annie comes for the mother’s funeral and tries to find where her sister has gone. While Annie (played by Caity Lotz) is quite fit, is it still necessary in this day and age for the female protagonist in a horror film to run about in her underwear all the time. As a red blooded male I’m not protesting, but you can’t have her as a tough biker chick one minute to being a vulnerable woman in her bedpants in the next. But that’s all we have of these characters, virtually no backstory whatsoever, just thrust straight into a relatively convoluted storyline. How can you get any empathy with the on screen characters if you know nothing about them? When Liz, the woman looking after Nicole’s daughter since her disappearance herself disappears, Annie has to run to the police, the detective portrayed by Casper van Dien (Rico from Starship Troopers).

[massive spoiler alert] The ghost itself makes no sense. When it’s not randomly beating the shit out of Annie and seems to have all the characteristics of a possessed house, indescriminately terrorising the shit out of all its inhabitants, the storyline manages to go completely mental when Annie brings in a psychic friend from High School, they find a hidden room with a decapitated wildly rotating ghost, which looks more like a blow up doll got caught on a ceiling fan. As usual with films involving ghosts, the medium is usually scarier than the actual ghost, and here it was the case again. Turns out this apparition, the same invisible force who beat the shit out of Annie, is actually trying to show her the dark secret of the house. This ghost appears to her in dreams, ouija board crudely drawn on the floor and even Google fucking maps. How the fuck does a ghost manifest on the internet?

Turns out the secret of the house is that Annie and Nicole’s mum had a brother who disappeared 25 years ago, guess what, He lives under the fucking floor in the hidden room with spy holes everywhere. The weird stuff in the house is actually because there is a weird man who looks a cross between fatboy slim and gollum who in fact is also a serial killer called “Judas”, and the ghost is one of his victims who he killed years ago, who was the friend of their mother. He has killed Nicole and Liz (who you find out now at the end of the film that she’s Nicole and Annie’s cousin) and now is after Annie after she witnesses him climb through all the small gaps in the house. After a particularly convoluted struggle which sees the Gollum man get stabbed with a coat hanger hilariously, she shoots him in the head and the ghost in the house which previously had beaten the shit out of her goes away.

But to go from a ghost film, to a serial killer film in the blink of an eye, makes it hard to keep up with whats happening, especially as the pieces which fit together to explain any tangible link get skimmed over too quickly. While the guy who wrote this film probably thinks he’s being clever, as an audience member it just become too contrived. And the serial killer guy was just lame. The only thing which could have made it worse would be to have an alien living in the house, like Roger in American Dad. But the fact that the antagonist is mortal, not some paranormal force, makes it shit. And the fact that there IS a paranormal force, just makes you feel like you’ve been tricked into thinking you’re watching a ghost film when in reality it’s just another horror shock horror films with weird freaks like in The Hills Have Eyes.

Verdict

With cliches ahoy and over predictable boo scares, The Pact didn’t really do it for me. Perhaps I’m expecting too much out of a horror films. The build up was good and with the mystery of Nicole disappearing I thought we were in for a good scary horror twist. As it was, the film went for the through with full on poltergeist activity without any kind of suspense, before having predictably jumpy apparitions, weird mediums and quite frankly, one of the worst twists I’ve seen in a horror film. When Annie was using the cliched Ouija board and the ghost tells her that something was downstairs, I was expecting a demon, satanic altar or even an Indian Burial ground, not a man. An emaciated man at that.

I think the biggest frustration was that nothing was explained, not that I’m expecting a film to micro-manage my thought process, but almost trying to create a complex back story and not explain anything is just annoying. I realise the film writers we trying to create a talking point at the end of the film, mainly with the weird guy having identically heterochromic eyes like Annie, but does that mean he’s her father? Did he rape her mum? Who cares, it’s not worth seeing again unless you want to see Caity Lotz run around a lot in her underwear. Which is totally not a bad thing, however I am reliably informed by my sister, that girls in fact, do not casually run about outside in their pants.

It’s not one of the worst films I’ve seen but it could have been better with some more story telling rather than plunging you into intense drama with little or no explanation. Furthermore, a “pact” is a formal agreement between various parties. I don’t really see what pact was here at all! Which sums up this film, a boo scare film which builds up too quickly with little or no explanation at all.

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