I have toiled with this flick for a few days now. I wasn’t sure whether I actually wanted to review it, and Quite honestly The Pact from IFC Midnight bored me. It wasn’t a poorly produced movie, and it certainly was in keeping with much of the other films that have been coming out of the darkside of the Independent Film Channel. They’ve chosen movies that are visually pleasing with stories that vary from the everyday Hollywood fodder. The issue is I didn’t find it scary. I didn’t identify with the characters. I don’t find the premise to be intriguing or suspenseful. I’m sure have more to say about it other than it’s ordinary, but that’s just the perfect word: ordinary.
Synopsis from IFC:
After their mother passes away, sisters Nicole and Annie reluctantly return to their childhood home to pay their last respects. While staying overnight in the house, the sisters sense a mysterious presence in their midst: noises startling them in the night, objects moving about, a fallen picture of an unknown woman posed next to their mother. Annie begins experiencing a series of intense and disturbing dreams – visions that lead her to uncover something terrible about her mother’s past that is finally revealing itself.
When the trailer premiered for The Pact I was fully on board to receive hype. I wanted to believe in it. It’s got a short, sweet namesake that makes you think of everything from selling your soul to Satan or a group suicide attempt by a bunch of friends that turns into a ghosty story.The trailer supports the mystery coming off like a reincarnation of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins. That’s one of my favorite short stories. Obviously, I had to watch, and with advertising, plot summary and trailer like these I had a hodge podge of word bubbles floating around my brain as to what I would be watching. I would be watching none of the aforementioned films and the word bubbles that danced about my head like sugar plum fairies would pop one by one.
The camera follows Annie, our lead played by Caity Lotz, around like a lost puppy dog. We’re trying to figure out where the movie’s going just as she is, but with minimal illusion to what might await Annie at the end of her journey I felt no suspense. No tension. I just wanted the surprise already. I didn’t want to know what the surprise was, just what kind of surprise I might get. It’s like getting a present unwrapped in a brown cardboard box. You don’t know if it’s a birthday gift, a Christmas present or an Acme bomb from Wiley Coyote. Sometimes you need a bit of a hint as to where the film is going. Sometime you need road signs to figure out where you are going. When a movie is nearly over and I find myself trying to figure out if I’m in a psychological drama or an atmosphere supernatural emo piece I’m turned off. My body hasn’t figure out how to properly respond to what I’m seeing. I don’t know whether I’m on a roller coaster or the tunnel of love (enough with the metaphors already).
It’s not a bad movie which is to say it is shot well, well acted, the cinematography is Jim Dandy.Nicholas McCarthy is a talented director. The issue I take with The Pact is the story and that could be a sub-par script or it could actually be a director not knowing when the audience needs their nuts firmly double punched. Just get to the friggin’ point already and let me enjoy the lead up to the freak out. Let me feel the closure at the end of the film by giving me an issue to have closed and give it sooner. Where’s the scare I came for? Why is my skin unfilled with goose bumps?
I wasn’t entirely certain if I wanted to write this review. I don’t overly like writing negative reviews. I’d rather espouse the positive movies in the genre than wail on the baddies, but I want to let the readers know that the trailer doesn’t exactly fit the movie I watched. It’s a beautiful trailer meant to artistic and intriguing. It does everything a trailer should do… except it doesn’t really tell you what you’re about to see accurately. Not the strongest showing from IFC who has been hitting on the money lately. I’ll be reviewing another IFC movie shortly that delivers with flying colors (mostly the color red). Check out the review of The Tortured. Maybe stay away from The Pact.
Note: I adore the retro-poster. It made me think boogeyman.