The line between a horror movie and a comedy is a very thin line indeed. This is especially true of writer/director Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact, which treads it very carefully for the hour and a half running time. In fact, by the end of the film, it is almost impossible to tell what kind of film he was intending on making. This is not said with the intent of complimenting its genre-defying prowess, but rather out of genuine confusion.
The Pact begins with Nicole, an ex-junky who is staying in her childhood home following the death of her mother. She tries to make a phone call to her daughter and mysteriously disappears. The next day, her ‘rebellious’ sister Annie (played by Caity Lotz, of Mad Men fame) turns up to find her missing. Annie presumes her sister has gone back to using, but soon strange things start happening in the house prompting her to think that something else may have happened.
It becomes very obvious in the first 15 minutes of the film that McCarthy has forgotten or chosen to ignore the most basic rule of horror, the fear of the unknown. Very early on we are told there is a ghost, in fact see it. The film seems to change its mind as to how strong this ghost may be, with its powers ranging from full scale violent attacks to simply haunting an iPhone in the space of a few minutes. One would think that after a ghost has literally flung you around the kitchen, they would be able to stop with the subtle hints.
Of course there is a ‘twist’ at the end, but it is signposted very clearly from half way through and was so poorly executed that the audience were crying with laughter rather than fear (also as a side note, I must point out that at no point in the film does anyone mention anything to do with a pact).
With that in mind, The Pact has potential, just not in the way McCarthy intended. The comedy is far too imprecise to have been entirely intentional, but there are certain moments that will have you rolling in the isles. Fans of cheesy horror and ‘so bad its good’ films will most definitely enjoy it, but anyone looking for a genuine scare will have to look elsewhere. [Watch the trailer]