The Pact is a classic example of wasted potential. It takes the scariest single concept I’ve come across and squanders it on clichéd haunted house scares.
Warning: spoilers follow.
The concept? The childhood home of Nichole and Annie (Caity Lotz) is secretly inhabited by their serial murderer uncle “Judas,” who it’s suggested used to molest them as children at their mother’s behest. He uses a secret room to spy on the house’s inhabitants, and occasionally pops upstairs to steal food from the fridge … or murder people. It’s an absolutely bone-chilling idea.
But The Pact spends most of its time on a by-the-numbers ghost story. It undercuts the scariest scene in the film by introducing a poltergeist who tosses Annie about the house. There are some well-executed supernatural scares here, including innovative use of modern technology like Google Maps and Skype, but the uncle plot isn’t revealed until very late in the piece.
It’s spare and minimalist, with muted cinematography, little dialogue and a deliberate pace. The director is talented, but the plot is riddled with holes and quite clichéd (there’s both a Ouija board and an exposition-delivering psychic).
The Pact isn’t a bad film. But it could have been so much more.