The Pact (2012) - Nicholas McCarthy

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No, this is not the adaptation of the novel by Jodi Pacoult. Instead it's a haunted house horror; originally a short expanded into a feature, with the star presence of Casper van Dien (of Starship Troopers fame). All signs point towards a cinematic masterpiece here.

A former drug addict and now mother, Nicole, returns to her childhood home after her mother dies to set things in order. However after arriving and staying one night, she mysteriously disappears. Her estranged sister, Annie, arrives to investigate and before you can say Poltergeist she starts noticing that something is in the house with her.....

The trailer for the film was not great so going into this I had pretty low expectations. This didn't quite meet those low expectations; for a start it's not scary going with pretty much every clichéd scare imaginable - the shadowed person who walks quickly past a doorway whom the character doesn't see? Yeah, he makes an appearance. Stuff moving by itself? Doors closing by themselves? They're all here too. I will say however there is one really well worked scare, at a stretch two but that's pretty much it. It's a pretty simple story and you'll guess the ending pretty easily if you've got any experience with these types of films, perhaps showing it's roots as a short that's been expanded.

It's not awful; it's shot nicely enough if a little pedestrianly. Caity Lotz as Annie does fine; she mostly acts freaked out and wanders around in her underwear a lot. Haley Hudson as the psychic Stevie has the look and mannerisms down pat of someone who's not quite here and the rest of the cast are relatively good. Casper is...well strangely out of place, or maybe not that strangely considering. His role reminds me of when Corman or similar directors in exploitation flicks (or even now with the likes of Piranha 3DD) back in the day would get a 'star' name to film a few brief scenes and then splash their name on the poster to draw in the punters though who exactly would be drawn to Casper is anyone's guess?

Not something I'd recommend - I suppose if you catch it on the TV late one night and there's nothing else going on it'd be worth a watch but it is distinctly middle of the road stuff.

4/10

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