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Sundance 2012 Review: THE PACT - Supernatural Murder Mystery

One thing I enjoy most about coming to The Sundance Film Festival is you never really know what you are getting yourself into when you commit to seeing a movie. All I knew about The Pact before I saw was that it was part of the Midnight selection at the festival and that it was a horror film, so as a fan of horror I was interested to see what this turned out to be. Like every film I see at Sundance I had no expectations going into this movie, but ultimately, I left theater having been very entertained.

The story is basically a supernatural murder mystery that follows a girl who moves into the house of her dead mother, who she didn't have the best relationship with. As she's living in the home, extremely creepy and unexplained things begin to happen to her and to those around her. This leads her to start investigating why she is going through this insanity, and she starts digging into her mother's past. Thanks to the help of an abusive, attention-getting ghost, she begins to uncover certain clues to her forgotten past that ultimately reveal a terrible secret that's been hidden from her for years.  

I really enjoyed the movie and thought is was better than most major studio horror films being released these days. Just because I liked it doesn't mean it didn't have it's faults though. The script has some issues. There were holes leaving a few things unexplained. Some of the acting was a little off and I didn't really care for the last few seconds of the film because I had no idea what it meant. Other than that, I enjoyed the ride, and for me... when it comes to horror films, that's all that matters.

The movie had some great, effective, scary moments, but what I liked most about the movie was that it felt like a classic ghost story, without all the blood and gore. Instead it focused on unraveling a mystery and messing with the minds of the audience. It kept my interest from start to finish, and I really liked the mystery behind it. I really had no idea what was coming or what the big reveal was going to be, but I ended up being surprised and satisfied. 

The film was written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy and it stars Caity Lotz, who was actually the best actor in the film. I thought she did a very solid job, and would like to see her do more stuff. She seems like she could make a solid female action hero. The reason I say that is because of the way she carried herself in the film and the confidence she displayed.  

I haven't heard a lot of people talk about this film, but there were a few in the audience that didn't seem to care for it. This movie obviously isn't for everyone, but if you like watching horror movies, then I'm pretty sure that The Pact is something you will enjoy watching.

Here's the synopsis: 

Annie returns home to attend her much-despised mother’s funeral as a favor to her older sister. Sleeping in her old bedroom, Annie senses something unfamiliar in the house. She enlists the help of a local cop and a clairvoyant to answer some questions surrounding her mother’s death. As long-repressed nightmares begin to haunt Annie’s life again, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.

Based on a short film that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact penetrates beneath your skin from the opening drone of its score, with an uneasiness that grows steadily with every unsettling twist. McCarthy’s debut feature modernizes the classic haunted house story by sharply mixing genre elements to keep the audience always on their toes. Cinematographer Bridger Nielson’s camera stalks badass heroine Caity Lotz, both in sudden action and in silent terror, as she uncovers the dark mysteries behind each door.

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