Remember when I was much better at alerting you to worthwhile movies on Netflix Streaming? I still watch movies on there all the time but somehow instead of writing about them, I end up shrugging my shoulders and taking a nap instead. What is there to say? People will either like stuff or they won’t and I’ve been having extremely entertaining dark dreams lately that trump my ability to care either way. Luckily there is a cure for this particular type of writer’s block and it’s called a good movie. THE PACT (2012) snapped me out of my apathetic haze and I’m now going to enjoy giving you a short list of spoiler free reasons you should check it out.
1. THE CAST. In THE PACT, most of our time is satisfyingly spent with Annie, a young woman who returns home after her abusive mother’s death and is confronted by malignant forces. She is played by CAITY LOTZ and, by my estimation, LOTZ kind of rules. She reminds me of MELISSA GEORGE and AMY STEEL combined with a little GILLIAN ANDERSON meets JENNIFER RUBIN thrown in and if that weren’t awesome enough, she rides a motorcycle. LOTZ is a real find, striking a perfect balance between ornery and sympathetic. Another stand out is HALEY HUDSON who shows up as creepy psychic Stevie, emaciated and sunken-eyed, you can’t tell at any given moment if she’s going to break down in tears or explode into flames. I was also really happy to see good ol’ CASPER VAN DIEN of STARSHIP TROOPERS and SLEEPY HOLLOW fame working against his human action figure looks by playing a weathered, been-around-the block cop and an unrecognizable AGNES BRUCKNER (THE WOODS) as Annie’s ill-fated sister. MARK STEGER deserves high praise to for a ghoulishly graceful physical performance but I can’t get into that any further without ruining things.
2. THE LOOK. THE PACT is beautifully shot. There’s an unnerving meticulousness and I just happen to be a sucker for psychotic wallpaper and a limited beige and gray palate. Delicate touches are everywhere, meaning that repeat viewings promise to bring things to the forefront that I may have missed the first time and Christmas decorations loiter in the background, meaning I can happily throw this baby onto my perennial holiday viewing pile. Everything seems to have its own peculiar place and there is such a somber softness that when horrific images finally do appear, they are all the more jarring.
3. THE SCARES. I don’t mind telling you that this movie fucking scared me. I can nick-pick a few story elements that didn’t quit gel for me, but who the hell cares when THE PACT so successfully delivered for me on the fright-front? There’s a wondrous bit that takes place in a motel where I thought maybe I was seeing something in the background and then it was suddenly made shockingly clear. It’s a brilliantly sly thing and yes, I yelped. Actually, several scenes made me their bitch, but what really impressed me was the lingering creeps I was left stewing in. This is one of those great supernatural flicks that alters the way you observe things while you’re watching it. Every shadow in my house was a little bit darker by the time it was done. If you enjoyed INSIDIOUS and/or LAKE MUNGO, you are probably the prime audience for THE PACT; it’s a haunted house flick that genuinely feels haunted. Will it scare you as much as it scared me? I hope so but if not, tough luck! I’ve got my own bones to chill, and my own bad dreams to feed and this sneaky doozy about skeletons in the closet and one very gnarled family tree, snuck up behind yours truly pitch-perfectly.