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A cast of relatively unknowns appear in Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact. Sisters begin to feel an unworldly presence in their late mother’s house. When the first, Nicole, goes missing her estranged sister arrives to look for her. In doing so she must confront a past she left behind and a present that threatens her life.

The characters that populate the film are largely stereotypical and this acts to the detriment of the enjoyment of the film. Nicole is a loose wire but nothing really comes of her potential. Her sister Annie acts tough but never comes across as being able to hold her own. The casting itself is off; the policeman Annie finds solace in muses about having a daughter roughly the same age as her when he looks barely any older than she does. Interchangeable blondes populate the movie until the stereotypical emaciated girl who can converse with the dead conveniently appears with little explanation.

The scare from the trailer, in which Nicole’s daughter sees someone behind her mother via webcam, is misleadingly good. The only genuine scare comes after a rushed ouija board session. The Pact never seems to know whether to be a ghost movie, a whodunnit or a murderous horror and, as a result, it comes across as a confused mix of the two. The pact, in itself, is also conspicuous by its absence.

There’s some nice effects here but the story is ill-explained and often poorly acted, the latter giving you the constant awareness that the film is just that – a film. There’s no escapism just as there’s no escaping for Annie as she tries to dash away in her underwear on Christmas morning, a scene which feels superficial and implanted to add some much-needed tension.

In its attempts to be original the film-makers produce a relatively boring film. There’s some promise but often it feels like a prolonged Apple advert.

 


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