In the course of trying to decide whether I wanted to watch The Pact enough to spring $6.99 for it on Amazon Instant, I read a review of it on Shock Till You Drop. This particular site put the actors’ previous movies in bold and parentheses, just like I put their names in bold and parentheses. Because I wasn’t paying attention, this caused me to be convinced for like 30 seconds that the lead actress in The Pact was named Death Valley, and I was like “Dear God, Bertie Wooster was right, there’s some raw work pulled at the font.” Then I skimmed farther down in the review and realized that, while I could totally see some neo-hippie minor celebrities naming their daughter Death Valley, I’m pretty sure even the staunchest of geeks would draw the line at naming their son Starship Troopers.
Basically, a woman who by all accounts is pretty nasty dies, leaving her two unenthusiastic daughters to tidy up her affairs. The first daughter (Agnes Bruckner) gets to the house a couple of days before the second and promptly disappears. The second daughter (Caity Lotz) rolls up a few days later to find no sister and an awful lot of things going bump in the night. When the house apparently eats a cousin too, Lotz sets out to find out what the hell is going on.
The Pact, as far as I could tell, doesn’t actually involve a pact of any sort. That’s kind of a good metaphor for the movie. It starts out as a fairly good ghost story, then takes a left turn into the land of uninspired serial killer movies. Neither of the interesting characters – Casper Van Dein as the world’s most blase cop and Haley Hudson as a medium who apparently lives in a crack house – have much screen time. Caity Lotz as Annie has one sort of inspired moment during a ouija-board scene where she appears to be attempting to convince an invisible audience that she is Too Cool to Freak Out, but other than that, she wears the role in much the same way as a couture model wears a McQ dress – her job appears to be to carry the script along without ever distracting the viewer by being memorable in any way.
The last scene, and I’m not considering this a spoiler because it made no sense to me and will probably make no sense to you either, is someone’s eye opening. I don’t know whose eye it was or what the significance was of it popping open. Undoubtedly I was supposed to pay very close attention to everyone’s eyes in this movie, but sadly, I really didn’t.
So what’s the verdict? I hate to say it, but two stars. I want to give it more just because I forked over a ridiculous amount of money to rent it, but it’s just not that good a movie. It started out as one, but the serial killer half was disappointingly devoid of things like imagination, good acting, interesting characters, or substantive additions to anything that came before it. If you’re really bored and can catch it for free on Netflix, go ahead, but learn from my fail and don’t pay money to see it.