Currently available on Showtime and VOD is one of the best, and overlooked, horror movies of 2012, The Pact. Though this is made in the same vein as other horror movies (films like Stir of Echoes, The Sixth Sense, and What Lies Beneath), the writer and director of The Pact, Nicholas McCarthy (At the Devil’s Door), adds enough nuance and style that the story feels fresh.
This horror gem stars Caity Lotz (The Machine). Lotz plays Annie, a young woman returning to her childhood town for her mother’s funeral. She is supposed to meet her sister there, but her sister mysteriously disappears. Because of her sister’s troubling behavior from her past, Annie assumes that she just ran away from an uncomfortable situation (like she has done before). But while staying at her childhood home, troubling dreams, visions, and strange occurrences start happening, and Annie begins to suspect that her sister didn’t run away this time.
Looking at The Pact on Rotten Tomatoes is interesting; often, with horror movies, the audience score is much higher than the critics’ score. With this film it’s the opposite—the critics’ score is “fresh” at 65 percent, while the audience score is a low 41 percent—but don’t let that discourage you. Most likely this is because of expectations set by the trailer, as it is a bit misleading. The trailer makes The Pact look like a jump-scare horror flick filled with the usual tropes. So, if that’s what you’re looking for in a horror film, you won’t find too much of that here. But if you like slow-build horror movies centered on character development and plot, then The Pact is for you.
Lotz does an impressive job playing a young woman struggling to accept her past while working through new turmoil in her present. Annie is a tough cookie, and the walls she built are big and thick, but that doesn’t stop a local police officer, portrayed by Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), from trying to knock them down. And though she only has a brief appearance in the film, Haley Hudson (The Pact 2) gives a show-stealing performance as the young clairvoyant, Stevie.
Some of the most interesting horror movies are often titles that fly under the radar, and this is one of those films. There is a surprise that most won’t see coming in the third act, and though the climax is exactly what you might expect, it’s delivered in a way that’s satisfying. With solid performances and artistic direction, The Pact is one of the best horror movies from 2012.
[Featured Image by IFC Midnight]