May 31, 2012

The Pact (2012)

(aka Family Ties: The Movie)
Release Date: On VOD now, In Theaters July 6th.
Country: USA
Written and Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy.
Starring: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner and Haley Hudson.

Since it has an awesome poster, we assumed that The Pact would suck, because that generally tends to be the rule... but my oh my, how we were wrong.

This is easily the creepiest movie of 2012 so far, and by far.

Also, Caity Lotz is one of the hottest chicks of 2012. Or any year, really.

She had pokies going on throughout the entire movie.
When their mother dies, Annie and her sister Nichole are left to pick up the pieces. Even though Annie doesn't want anything to do with the funeral (because her mother was an abusive bitch), she agrees to come home and give her sister a hand with the arrangements. When she arrives at her mother's house the next day however, Nichole is nowhere to be found. At that point, Annie should have left too.

That is NOT the front door.
Annie's cousin Liz stays the night with her after the funeral, both because Annie doesn't want to be alone in the home of her childhood abuse, and because Liz has Nichole's daughter, whom she probably wants to be rid of. I mean hey, it's not her kid, so she has every right to want to give her back. They assume that Nichole is off on some crack binge somewhere, though when Liz goes missing in the middle of the night, Annie begins to have suspicions... which are quickly confirmed by a ghost beating her ass. Seriously, it was like a brawl.

Although we're enjoying this view, that poor girl is clearly terrified...
Annie goes to the Police, but they are useless, so she eventually goes to see a creepy blind chick named Stevie that she went to High School with, who was always rumored to have some sort of supernatural affinity. Stevie goes and gives the house the once over, and says "screw this, I'm not staying here!" This leaves Annie alone to unravel the mystery of her sister's and cousin's disappearances, the ghost that is roaming the halls, and the Serial Killer, all on her own.

Oh yeah, by the way there's a Serial Killer in this movie too.

When the creepy, blind seer says it's time to go, then it's time to go!
From the opening sequence, The Pact pulled us in and didn't ever let us go; the premise was great, and the way that It mixed the story of a Serial Killer with effective paranormal elements worked perfectly for us. The film's atmosphere was eerie and tense throughout, and the scares were effective. There was one instance of a musical cue/jump scare early on, but that sort of trickery wasn't repeated or resorted to to drive the movie.

For the record, the entire cast did a great job here, but Caity Lotz carried this baby on her back. She may have played it a bit over-dramatic here and there, but for the most part her character felt real, and made us truly feel for her. The part where she uses the Ouija Board -and her reaction to her first answer- illustrates her (and the script's) effectiveness perfectly; it was genuine, and exactly it was what most people would have done if that had been them.

At the point where the upside-down crucifix abruptly slides across the hand-made Ouija Board on the floor, I'm out of there.
We've got to give writer/director Nicholas McCarthy a lot of credit here, because he crafted his first full length feature into a great little sleeper hit as if he'd been doing it for years. There were parts early on in the movie that felt fairly formulaic, but once it got going, it was a smooth and fresh ride. There were a few critics out there that found The Pact far less effective than we did, and they deemed it ultimately dismissible, but we just don't get that; this movie is by no means perfect, but it absolutely works on the levels that it's supposed to, and above all else, it was enjoyable as hell.

Know what else works? Caity Lotz in various stages of undress, that's what.
*** SPOILER WARNING*** We would like to have a few of the movie's more ambiguous plot elements cleared up for us. For instance, what exactly was this pact that gives the movie it's title, and who was it between? We have a pretty good idea what it involved (siblings and silence) but it could have been something else as well. Also, was the brother a ghost or was he alive? The answer is most likely alive, but there were things that happened that could definitely be proof of him being a spirit of some sort. Also, was he Uncle and Daddy? And what was with the end? Was it just a dream, or was there something more to it?

The lack of answers to these questions didn't really spoil the movie for us, but we just hate not knowing what definitively happened. We're selfish like that.

We're not sure either, Caity.
Why was there no long, drawn-out scene involving Caity Lotz's character taking a bubble bath? She went through a lot of shit in this movie, and we're just saying that she deserved a hot, wet, relaxinf soak to relieve her tensions. Missed opportunity, Nicholas McCarthy!

"I happen to be frightened right now!"
There were a couple of good-n-gory stabbings and a shooting in this one, but aside from that, the rest of the movie was fairly blood free... aside from the corpses, and decapitated heads, of course... and the glass in the foot... alright, it had a decent amount of blood and gore.

There was no nudity in this one, but we did get a whole lot of footage of Caity Lotz running around in a tight tank top and boy shorts, which pleased us greatly. There was so wonderful much cleavage on display throughout this movie, that we sometimes found ourselves forgetting what just happened plot-wise. We didn't mind rewinding though.

She even rides her motorcycle in her undies. Now that's class.
The entire opening sequence has to get the nod here, because it was played perfectly. The sequence in which Caity Lotz goes flying and sliding around the house was great too, as was Casper Van Dien's "big scene." Good to see him back in a solid flick for a change.

It was kinda like she was doing a crazy ballet or an energy-charged Flashdance.
Caity Lotz is a sexy beast. Also, this Nicholas McCarthy guy may have a future as a Horror director.

No, Caity, you can't call Ghostbusters. They are not real.
The Pact gets a solid B+ because it was a great little flick, and it's been a while since we've seen a smaller Horror movie that was this well made, and genuinely gave us the creeps at the same time. It's great to see a movie like this getting a Theatrical Release, even if it is a Limited one. You need to go see it if it plays near you, or check it out on VOD now, because it's easily one of the best of the year thus far, and one of the most creepiest movies of the past few years.


The Pact is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

It's been a while since we've seen Agnes Bruckner in a movie, and it felt good to see her in this one. As for Caity Lotz, well she gets her own special little posts below... *Click both of her banners below to see more of her, as each one goes to a different post.

Horror Hotties: May is Caity Lotz Month!

She's crazy hot, with her pouty lips and freckles; she can act; and she isn't afraid to embrace the Horror genre... Caity Lotz is our kind of girl. Now for her next movie, she just needs to broaden her horizons a bit and get naked. A lot. *Prudes just don't last in this business. True story.

May 30, 2012

Urban Explorer (2012)

(Aka Dummkopfs!)
Release Date: On DVD & VOD now.
Country: Germany
Written by: Martin Thau
Directed by: Andy Fetscher
Starring: Nathalie Kelly, Nick Eversman and Klaus Stiglmeier.

This whole Urbex craze that's popular with the kids these days is beyond me; who really wants to go poking around through miles of subterranean tunnels that hold countless numbers of possible dangers and threats?

The Germans, that's who.
Urban Explorer deals with a bunch of young kids of different nationalities that decide to explore the sewers and catacombs underneath the city of Berlin, because that sounds pretty damn fun and exciting, doesn't it? Forget the fact that you could easily find yourself injured or lost while exploring a desolate subterranean tunnel system, because nothing can hurt you. You're young and invincible.

Pride cometh before the fall, fucko!
Our brave explorers hire a guide to, well, guide them through the tunnels, and lo-and-behold it isn't long before he gets injured, and the group has to split up to get him help. Luckily, a grizzled old kraut shows up out of nowhere and offers to help them if they will only follow him to his "safe place." Sounds legit to us.

From here on out, creepy Fritz dispatches the moron explorers in gruesome ways, and teaches them the ultimate lesson; when you do stupid shit, there is always a price to pay. In this case, the price is death. Creepy, underground, grizzled-German death!

His smile is not one of happiness or joy.
Urban Explorer is a solid effort in every way save for the script. The movie looks good, and the pace moves along nicely and doesn't drag much at all. It also offers up a good amount of intensity and creepy atmosphere, because dark tunnels kind of have that whole creepy thing going for them, don't they?

Since the gore is the strongest point of the movie, let's just go ahead and cover that now. This film definitely gets nasty and bloody, which is a good thing, because we needed something to make the lame plot tolerable.

Why she broke into song while getting her ear cut off, we will never know.
I know it's hard to come up with a premise that feels genuine and fresh, especially in Horror, and Urban Explorer is a decent movie, but it would have been better to me personally had the writers given us a plausible reason for these morons to descend into the dark and dangerous underworld of a massive city like Berlin. How about someone's dumb ass sister or girlfriend went into the catacombs to party, and never returned. A brother of boyfriend might be compelled to go look for her, even if it was a crazy bad idea, because love is like that. That same guy could have a friend or two who hate the idea of going down "there." but can't let him go alone, because all they need is another person they care about to go missing. Safety in numbers, right?

Urban Explorer made me come to terms with something I realized long ago, but had tried as hard as I could to suppress; most people in Horror movies are morons. I used to try to give the average Horror movie character some leeway, because maybe real people would act the way that they do in their movies. Groups of young, cocky, "nothing can touch me because I'm invincible!" teens and twenty-somethings always seem to do the absolutely most nonsensical things in Horror movies, just because. It's cheap.

So, how was your trip?
This is really the problem I have with so many Horror movies these days; they're insulting to my intelligence.  Film after film showcases dumb people who do incredibly dumb things, which get them into situations that make me hope that they die, just for being so stupid. I understand that most people don't go through life adjusting their actions or routines just in case a Horror movie breaks out at any minute, but it's an old trope/plot device that instantly makes a film feel tired, even if it's a good one.

It's almost as if filmmakers and studios just say "Meh, it's a Horror flick, this script will do" when they head off to make a new movie, and that's what pisses me off. The Horror genre is the most dynamic of all movie genres. in that Horror films often tend to encompass elements of all other genre's at once. Amidst the carnage and terror, there can be comedy and levity, romance can and often does play a part in the story, and there's always plenty of drama and mystery. The Horror Genre is limitless. I guess that's why I don't understand why so many Horror filmmakers limit themselves with so much cliche' and plot device.

Black Christmas?
Urban Explorer is a well made film that delivers on the tension and the gore, but falls short in the scripting department. Had the plot not been so paper thin and familiar, and had the characters not been so cookie-cutter, stupid, and simplistic, this could have been a far better film. As it stands though, Urban Explorer delivers the goods as long as the goods your looking for aren't originality or depth.


She's in this.