The Pact: DVD and Blu-ray

Thursday, 04 October 2012 14:56
Posted in Blu-Ray
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The Pact - available on Blu-ray and DVDAnnie (Caity Lotz – Death Valley, Mad Men) returns to her childhood home to attend her mother’s funeral. The house holds a dark place in Annie’s heart, and that only gets worse after her sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner – “Murder by Numbers”, Covert Affairs) mysteriously disappears, leaving behind Eva (Dakota Bright), her estranged young daughter. Annie fears something is very wrong, and the house appears to be at the centre of it.

Strange things start to happen from the very first night: objects move about, odd noises abound and lights flicker ominously. After the funeral, Annie invites her cousin Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins – Episodes, “The Island”) and Eva back to the house, only for Liz to also seemingly vanish into thin air. Annie barely gets out alive, but realises she must return to solve the mystery and free herself of the terrifying forces lurking within.

“The Pact” is very much in the same mould as “Insidious”, and shares that movie’s genuine ability to frighten and unnerve. The direction makes the action feel up close and personal, and although it is not shot in the found-footage style, the viewer feels involved and at risk. The camera has an alarming tendency to give the audience a very narrow field of view, so we cannot see what lurks at the end of the claustrophobic corridors, or around the tight corners any more than Annie can. I did crane my neck to try, though!

There are some decent jump-out-of-your-skin moments, but where the film really succeeds is the sustained sense of dread. Characters are expendable, and the film gets into its stride at such a fast pace compared with many other slow-boil movies in the field. Director Nicholas McCarthy is obviously aware that it is a crowded and very competitive genre, and the rapid progression of bad things going on in the house helps to keep you rapt and on edge.

Lotz is excellent as the chief protagonist, looking attractive, drawn and terrified all at the same time. One might be tempted to question her character’s motivations given her past in the house, never mind what happens during the film, but at the same time, her steely determination and realisation that it is probably a case of do or die help to keep the role of Annie real.

Casper Van Dien (“Starship Troopers”, “Sleepy Hollow”) provides credible support as a slightly dishevelled and disbelieving police detective. He wants to help but naturally has a hard time swallowing Annie’s tales.

The set design is partly to thank for the spookiness of the movie. The family home features faded photos, muted colours and old-fashioned furniture and light fittings. The busy wallpaper helps to accentuate the cramped, tunnel-like corridors. It does not feely homely or inviting and you can almost smell the stale stench of death.

The sound effects also help to raise the tension and atmosphere, and the music is as effective when it is absent or only accompanying the action with a guttural bass as it is when it almost deafens when panic strikes. It could be considered cheesy to use bass to represent the presence of evil, but as it works so well, why jettison an effective device?

In summary, this is one of the better horror films of 2012. It will creep you out and the puzzling history to the house and Annie’s family will intrigue you. Once you enter, you will not leave!

Special Features included on both formats include:

  • The cast
  • About the film
  • On location
  • Original short feature: The Pact

 

This content was not available at the time of the review. The Blu-ray version reviewed was crisp and beneficial in the darker scenes, without being so clear as to give the game away!

“The Pact" (2012) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Entertainment One. The main feature has a running time of 89 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £15.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 04 October 2012 15:10

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