The Pact Review

Review of: The Pact Revew
Matt Donato

Reviewed by:
On August 2, 2012
Last modified:January 2, 2013


Nicholas McCarthy admirably tries to deliver both a terrifying tale of horror while mixing in more gritty elements, but doesn't explain much as to why. The Pact offers a remotely fun discovery of paranormal interactions, but a weak third act stumbles instead of offering a meaty conclusion.

%name The Pact Review

It’s a miracle I’m still even able to stay alone in my own home after exposing myself to numerous stories of haunted houses. I’ve seen it all from possessions, stalkers, killers, ghosts, zombies, boogie men – yet I keep pressing on. Nicholas McCarthy’s independent feature The Pact was my latest foray into a pastime that will undoubtably send me into a paranoid frenzy, finding another house of horrors and new victims to torment. I’ve still got plenty of reasons to fear the dark after watching McCarthy’s chilling thriller, but sadly I won’t be losing any extra sleep.

Now being an independent film, I have to give our novice director credit for establishing some skin crawling shots. Jolted by quick bursts of fear, McCarthy used all the same horror set ups where we knew an inevitable trap waited for unsuspecting characters. Uncovering a hidden room with zero lighting usually never turns out to be beneficial for protagonists, but skillful shot selection kept me hesitantly on my toes. In pitch black scenarios one always has a small anxiety for obnoxious jump scares, but more was said to the actual fear of not knowing. The Pact certainly does a fantastic job of keeping a big budget atmosphere for all to fear, even if the themes were never able to live up to such potential.

Since this is a review and I’d like to discuss certain story elements, please note that spoilers will follow from this point. You have been warned.

Where McCarthy lost me is in the abandonment of paranormal terror and realization of what you’re fearing is completely different. I was actually digging the ghostly detective work main character Annie (Caity Lotz) became obsessed with, but then our antagonist is introduced and plot points start to seem fishy. The whole idea of undead haunter Jennifer Glick sending warnings to Annie was so she could kill Glick’s murderer hiding beneath the house. There’s some banter about the killer being Annie’s mother’s unknown brother Charles, but that didn’t bother me so much as his involvement. From that point on, we lose any mystery and realize The Pact is nothing but another murder mystery.

During one of the hauntings, Jennifer has a rather aggressive episode with Annie that ends in her discovery of the killer’s secret room. Up to that point, we thought the evil being in the house would drag victims into the pitch black closet where they were never be seen again. Be it black hole or gateway to hell or something devious, people never returned from the closet. But while Annie is struggling with Jennifer’s ghost, she tries to drag our main character into the same closet of doom. Why would Jennifer even bother if all she was trying to do was point directly to the killer? Why waste time and scare the living crap out of the soul you picked to settle your own score? Left to believe the closet holds some dark secret, the landmark is kept in mind.

We’re then gifted with the disappointing realization our closet was only significant because the serial killer would tie his victims there while he made a snack or something, because you can never rush a good murder. No hidden secrets or big revelation, minus a severely stealthy man living downstairs. From square one I was strapped in for a gripping other worldly story, but McCarthy’s script becomes far too human to meet such creative expectations built solely by the movie itself.

%name The Pact Review

In proper underwhelming fashion, The Pact leaves the biggest questions unanswered and ends on a painfully obvious cliffhanger. For one, how did no house inhabitant notice any of the large eye holes cut out in every single room for the killer to creep with? I’m not sure, but that would be my first reg flag while staying in a house alone by myself. Oh yeah, and how did Charles get out of the room initially? I may have missed something, but Annie had to break the wall down to find the room connected to his dungeon abode, no? Eh, Charles is evil, he used black magic, there’s a trap door – pick your excuse.  Whatever.

Nicholas McCarthy admirably tries to deliver both a terrifying tale of horror by mixing a living killer into his story, but doesn’t explain much as to why. It’s a minimally fun discovery depicting some paranormal interactions, but a weaker third act stumbles instead of offering a meaty conclusion. I honestly would have been more satisfied keeping our villain in the deceased realm, staying with the teased ghost villain themes.

It’s a damn shame Annie could have solved this mystery with a quick trip to, but I guess it’s a way cooler story having a ghost help you uncover your family’s shameful secret.

Nicholas McCarthy admirably tries to deliver both a terrifying tale of horror while mixing in more gritty elements, but doesn't explain much as to why. The Pact offers a remotely fun discovery of paranormal interactions, but a weak third act stumbles instead of offering a meaty conclusion.
Promoted Content
  • Yvette-Jeannine Boucher

    I thought the ‘human’ aspect of the twist to be sufficiently more scary than any otherworldly explanation for the events. You wondered how the brother got out of the room; didn’t you see the trap door between the room and the closet going into the living room??

    • Matt Donato

      haha yes, I did, maybe I was being a little harsh with my comment, trying to highlight the lack of detail (to me), but I don’t think it was made obvious enough to explain things. The “human” aspect actually took me out of it because it’s hard for me to believe our characters didn’t catch wind of a man walking around their house through trap doors and whatnot. I completely get what you’re saying, but it just didn’t work for me I guess. To each their own!

  • Melsii

    Putting aside the large peepholes in the walls and the fact she obviously didn’t look at the house blueprints earlier…are you really trying to tell me someone can’t figure out there should be a extra room somewhere judging from the outside house layout? It’s not like we’re in a old huge manor which actually could be legit with having secret rooms/doors. This is one of the smallest houses ever. She gets 400,000 for it at the end? Do we need to factor in it was a serial killer’s home? Yeah, right…that makes sense. Which also brings us to the fact that it’s unlikely he could of sneaked around without being heard or seen. The eye at the end makes absolutely no sense. You’d assume the police would of cleared that whole “down below” space before letting it be sold. You’d also assume they took Judas’s body. You’d also assume any new home owner would have all those crazy holes filled in before thinking about painting…Moving on, what about motives? We get no insight to why her crazy uncle went so crazy? No insight on why her mother helped him out and decided to feed/house him? Or maybe if she was helping him acquire women? No insight as to what “horrible” things actually happened to her sister and her. Ultimately, too many plot holes for my taste…difference between leaving some mystery and just leaving a mess.

  • So much for that

    The ending was a real let down… ok, so once you put a clip into a gun you have to pull the top part back to cock the first bullet into the chamber. Despite the fact that she was in no danger, she’s gonna go AHAH! and just pop him. 5 minutes later, she goes for the same move again, picking it up right off the ground where it was, and NOW it works?? Wow. Even if you don’t know about guns, you know it went click one minute and boom the next. Please, show me it moved, put it on a counter or something and I’ll believe whatever you want. No, it’s right where it was, it’s just gonna work now. We ran out of time