THINGS THAT GO BUMP ON THE SCREEN

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 in All Reviews, Indie Horror | 0 comments

www.tavernofterror.comI’m never too keen on today’s ghost movies.

I think my disinterest is mostly due to the overabundance of them these days. From found-footage reruns like Paranormal Activity to horror soap operas like American Horror Story, ghosts are goddamned everywhere, and they all seem to want to lead someone to discover something.

From Insidious to The Innkeepers to The Orphanage, the ghosts of modern films all want us to uncover some dirty secret. This is not a new idea for poltergeist tales, but it is one that is repeatedly beaten to a pulp in every cinematic haunt of the 21st century.

A now joining them is The Pact, the new indie horror film that just hit the streets on DVD and BluRay.

THE PACT (2012)

From short film director Nicholas McCarthy comes this IFC funded slow creeper about a woman, Anne, coming back to the house she grew up in to attend the funeral of her estranged mother.

The start of the movie contains a lot of atmospheric shots reminiscent of Blatty’s style on The Exorcist III, but the big difference here is that nothing really happens for the first half of the film.

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There are a few standard jolt scares used though, the same kind of mindless “BOO” scares we’re treated to in every single Paranormal Activity. Rapid edits and sudden twitching figures pop up randomly (and yet predictably) while the plot drags along like a half squished snail. We are even treated to some slow-motion sequences that make Sledgehammer look like Spun.

First Anne’s sister goes missing, and then her cousin. An unseen force roughs up Anne, and so she calls in the help of a skeptical detective as well as an old high school acquaintance who just happens to be a blind psychic who likes juice boxes. This helps to unfold the mystery a little bit further, but Anne also has a lot of clues just placed in her lap by a spirit that is determined to spoon-feed her the truth.

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To say much more would spoil the ending, which, while different, is also ridiculous and just raises questions for how the whole film unfolded in the first place. Let’s just say that Anne realizes that ghosts aren’t the only thing to be afraid of, but one can’t help but wonder why the ghost wouldn’t have interacted with the living in different ways given the ludicrous finale.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Pact moves like molasses, a common trait of the low budget film that wants to be taken seriously. Nonetheless the atmosphere that is created using the house, and the evil that is implied by its secretive layout, has a nice chilling effect — and if you enjoy cheap boo scares this flick’s got them by the hearseful. There is also a fair amount of bloody imagery to chew on, though not enough to make it particularly noteworthy. The film is shot well, and it looks good, but it drags horribly and lacks solid interaction between the characters. A little dialogue could have gone a long way. Anne is the only one we vaguely get to know here, but even she is underdeveloped; just a pretty tool to take the mundane mystery from points A to B. The conclusion of this sluggish burner, as I previously mentioned, will also make you call bullshit. Knowing all this, you should decide for yourself if you want to invest the time getting there.

  • RATING: 2 out of 5. Meh. Good in appearance but still pretty limp. Not spit-take awful but also not remotely memorable.
  • CHICK OF THE LITTER: Caity Lotz as Anne, who makes the movie more enjoyable than it is by being the talented lead and wearing little more than a muscle shirt and those short shorts some girls consider underpants.

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BARTENDER’S NOTES

www.tavernofterror.comIt may not be Christmas yet, but the beer aisle doesn’t know that. The pumpkin ales have been cocooned and now the yuletide brews are spilling forth. One that we enjoy is Old Jubilation Ale by Avery. This thick bad boy is as dark, malty, and just sweet enough to hide its strength — its muted carbonation being the only light thing about it.

Whereas The Pact moves like molasses, this beer winks at the taste of it, and at 8.3 % it will get you where you want to be much faster than this not-another-ghost-movie will.

 

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