I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve watched a good horror film. It’s been for a combination of reasons. I’ve been catching up with the new DC universe, I got caught up in the Mass Effect universe again playing the final instalment and I do have a passion for European football. I did watch Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 again with a bunch of my family late one night last week. Oh, how we laughed.
But I hadn’t seen anything new lately, so when the opportunity arose to go to the cinema and watch a film billed in its advertising as “The scariest movie of the year”, I took up the mantle. I got excited. I was looking forward to it.
Sadly, I still haven’t seen a good horror film in a while.
The Pact reminded of something. Shredded Wheat. It looks like a cereal. It says all the right things on the box. It supposedly has all the right ingredients to make it the best and healthiest breakfast cereal in the world, but is it? Cut it down to reality. It’s flavourless, has virtually no ingredients and above all else it’s fucking BORING.
To reveal the ridiculous plot of The Pact would be like to unravel a single Shredded Wheat biscuit. What would we find? Nothing but a flavourless, humourless, uninteresting piece of dryness wrapped up in itself that, frankly, people in their right mind wouldn’t or shouldn’t pay any attention to. And why should they? It’s DOWNRIGHT BORING!
But needs must and this is a review after all. So here is the “plot”.
A woman’s (Caity Lotz) mum died. Her sister is a bit of a druggie. The mother was a bit of a mean bitch. The house is creepy. She keeps staring at a particular cupboard. There’s something in the house with her (we see a shadow). The sister seems to have vanished now. Probably the drugs, that’s what the generic drug takers do, right folks? But her sister’s phone was in the creepy cupboard! And her sister has left her daughter with a sibling. It’s been three days now. The funeral has past. The sibling disappears in the house too, leaving the sister’s daughter. Paranormal Activity-esque kinda thing attacks the woman. It’s a ghost, right? An unconvincing police officer who looks a bit like Richard Madeley (Casper Van Dien) tries to help her solve “the riddle” of the house.
It IS a ghost and a plot twist so ridiculous that it made me want to stand up and fart really loudly in the auditorium and express what everyone watching the film was thinking.
You know you get those adverts like the one for “The Devil Inside”, where you see the audience reaction filmed in the dark? Well that kind of advertising simply couldn’t have worked for The Pact, because the lack of thrills and downright boredom and bafflement of the crowd would have made it look like we were watching a particularly unfunny episode of The Office. Honestly, we were groaning in unison.
There are two jumps that work in the first twenty minutes. That’s it. Characters have no dimensions, the creepy house isn’t very creepy at all and the plot holes and gaps of silence in this move are so deep that the cave dwellers in The Descent could go undiscovered in them for eternity.
Plot holes? Okay, one very briefly. It turns out, the mothers house has another, SECRET bedroom. Ooooh. No one over the years has noticed that extra, boarded up window from outside? No one went – “What’s that window for mummy?” or went “Hey, we’re your neighbours and we the exact same shape of house as you but for some reason you don’t have a bedroom where we have. Just a bit of wall…”
I said a while back that a conventional horror film works when everyone on the production is working on the same page. Towards the same end. Everyone knows what it is they are doing, how they are trying to achieve those scares. Is it a jumpy, comic horror (Drag Me To Hell) ? Is it a slow disturbing piece with imagery that will haunt you and increases in tension as it progresses (Paranormal Activity)? Is it a character driven, comic horror film (Saw)? Everyone has to know and try to achieve it. I don’t know what they were trying to achieve here.
Writer/Director Nicholas McCarthy your name is repudiated, mate.
When I first joined the team of AndyErupts I kinda made a little oath to myself that I would never brutally savage any film without also trying to explore its saving graces. An oath I can no longer stand by.
I can honestly say this isn’t even a nice little diversion or silly piece of nonsense worth watching because it lacks originality, imagination and creativity. There are NO saving graces here. Even Caity Lotz and her pre-surgery Lindsay Lohan looks get boring after a while. She just grimaces her way through this and I don’t blame her.
But the worst is yet to come, geeks and tramps. For having endured it’s entire running time, it’s bland undercooked script and pretty vacant characterisation, I have no idea what the fuck THE PACT is or why the film is named as such. To top off a bone fide turkey, the ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) is atrocious. Lying in bed, our leading lady sounds like she has a terrible case of asthma, panting heavily when her mouth is visibly closed on a regular basis. Something you could perhaps forgive an episode of Doctor Who for but not “the scariest movie of the year!”
That’s a laugh. The first piece of valuable entertainment this movie has provided for me. That laugh, right there.
AVOID. Please. For the love of God, AVOID!