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.


  1. this was creepy as hell! intelligently directed, great leading actress... cool film

  2. Geister-Storys kommen vermutlich nie aus der Mode, wobei es sich bei „The Pact“ vermutlich um eine kleine Mogelpackung handelt, denn das aktuelle Debüt-Werk des Newcomers Nicholas McCarthy bietet mehr Drama und Detektiv-Story, als wirklichen Horror. Der sehr gemächlich erzählte und holprig umgesetzte Plot beinhaltet unendlich viele Logiklücken, die den Zuschauer nach Sichtung mit diversen unbeantworteten Fragen zurücklassen. Auch die recht effektiven Schock-Momente, sorgen zwar regelmäßig für mollige Schauer und einen deftigen Pulsschlag, schaffen es aber dennoch nicht diesen kleinen ambitionierten Genre-Beitrag über den Durchschnitt zu heben. Was bleibt sind einige sehr gut platzierte Gruselmomente und ein wirklich morbides Setting – das Gesamtwerk jedoch, hinterlässt am Ende, trotz verkrampft wirkender Filmwendung, mehr als ein unbefriedigendes Gefühl beim Zuschauer. Schade!

    Fazit: 6/10 Punkte

    Eine ausführliche Filmkritik ist hier nachzulesen:

  3. It scared the hell out of me

  4. Liked the movie except one the beginning of the movie, Anne is talking 2 I believe Liz on the computer and asking to see Eva her daughter. and then later at the funeral home when they first get together, they talk about Eva be ing Nicole's daughter. so who is Eva....besides not being a very good actressbut she is 4

  5. I got the impression that the brother and sister were sleeping together and the daughters were his kids?

  6. From another review site - a comment, I can see this being the case, and I believe he was also a serial killer... I don't agree with all of the quoted, as I suspect the pact had to do with the mom finding out her brother/lover was a serial killer and allowing him to stay with her with the condition that he stay out of site where he is not allowed to hurt anyone, and that the abuse and etc. were due to her guilt and the fear that they would turn out like him and trauma... I don't see him raping her, she cared for him, and there was a wedding ring:

    "Word of god ( the director) is that the eye at the end was in the dream Annie is having at the end. It was the point of showing Annie in REM sleep right before that. I missed that as did a lot of people. He also says there is a cut line of dialogue that says since Annie’s mom didn’t have the mismatched eyes, her father must have. So her uncle was her daddy. That I did guess, even before I saw Judas had the eyes. I figured part of the whole back story of an unknown father, abusive mother, and general secrecy would have a darker twist like incest. Probably he raped his sister, fathering both girls. Likely she was terrified both of him and that her daughters would turn out like him, creating an extremely strict abusive child rearing style. The numerous crucifixes, pictures of Jesus and such tie in with that no doubt, as she attempted to both atone for and ward off the very evil she was protecting and sharing in."

    The movie was more fun because you could read into in in different way, personally I enjoy that.