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Old 12-05-2012, 11:04 AM   #1
Anaestheus
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The Pact (2012)

I caught this on Netflix after reading a good review somewhere.

The basic story is that two estranged sisters return to their childhood home to deal with the recent death of their abusive mother. And then supernatural hijinks abound.


This is certainly a very low-budget film. The cast is very small. The biggest name on the billing is Casper Van Dien. Even the house where all the haunting takes place is a single story, two bedroom deal. But, this is also a case where the film makers focus on playing to their strengths as best as possible and, as such, it never feels like they are limited by the budget or that the film is cheap. In many ways, I was reminded of the middle act of "House of the Devil." Both films seem to be working off of Mario Bava's promise that all he needed to make a horror film was a woman alone in a room.

By the end, the story is not particularly original. It borrows a lot of ideas and plot points from one particular film that would probably count as a spoiler if mentioned by name.
Spoiler:
It's Stir of Echoes


But, the film is also handled with a nice confidence, style, and intelligence, even if some elements of the story stretch plausibility to a snapping point upon reflection. The characters and performances were solid and interesting enough to keep me invested. Even Van Dien, who I seem to remember thinking of as a really bad actor does a nice little job. When it comes time to ratchet up the tension and deliver some scares, the film does a really good job of that. And when the few special effects pop up, they are really well done. I also appreciated how they manage to give such a small house a nice labyrinthine quality.

Oh, and there is a character names "Stevie" who, from most angles, is a dead ringer for Barbara Steele. So that was a nice little touch.

All in all, I can't say that this is some hidden gem. But, I did really enjoy watching it and would give it more than a passing recommendation to any. If you are looking for a simple, traditional ghost story, it's probably worth the time.

Outside of the credibility of the "big reveal" my biggest gripe is a bit of a spoiler, so it's hidden below:

Spoiler:
I really don't like ghost stories where the spirit is just a restless soul who wants their tragic death to be avenged. That was my biggest complaint about "Stir of Echoes" and even "Lady in White." I prefer my spirits to be a bit more malevolent.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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I saw this a few weeks ago and I guess it didn't make too much of an impression on me because I can't remember a thing about it
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:50 PM   #3
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It was basically J-Horror meets Bad Ronald.

There's one really fantastic sequence towards the end, but the rest is a huge bore. You can tell they wrote the entire film around that sequence.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPT HOOK View Post
It was basically J-Horror meets Bad Ronald.

There's one really fantastic sequence towards the end, but the rest is a huge bore. You can tell they wrote the entire film around that sequence.
Exactly! This really made me think of Bad Ronald also.

Rented it last night and watched it with a few friends. We thought it was decent but were largely confused by all the obvious plot holes...although my best friend surprisingly loved it. His wife however, got scared within the first 10 minutes and left the room.
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Old 12-21-2012, 02:58 AM   #5
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Personally I loved this movie - it was one of the best new horror movies I saw this year. I understand that people would say that it is not original (I agree with them) but I do not think this is always a criticicm. After all most movies are not original (particularly in the horror genre). It's all about the presentation - in this case the script was constantly surprising and kept me offbalance. The director staged the scare scenes extremely well and took the time to build a foreboding atmosphere. That sequence referenced by the other posters was scary and unexpected.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:24 PM   #6
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Not sure why, but there's apparently a sequel going into production.

This really didn't strike me as a "sequel" type of movie.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:10 AM   #7
Hellbilly
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Enjoyed this very much. It made the ladies I was watching this with shriek several times, so I'd say it was effective enough.
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