Official Selection, Sundance 2012
Official Selection, Dallas International Film Festival 2012
“Effectively delivers the creepy builds, the jolts in the night, and the ‘holy crap!’ moments” - John Wildman, FILM THREAT
It’s not always easy coming home. Sisters Nicole and Annie learn just that as they reluctantly return to their childhood house in the wake of their mother’s death. Their memories there were not entirely pleasant ones, and neither is keen to revisit any semblance of them. Instead, they get something much worse, and infinitely more terrifying. Before Annie has even gotten back to town, Nicole vanishes under highly mysterious circumstances, leaving her sister to do some serious digging. Digging that will unearth terrible, repressed truths about exactly who their mother was and what she and those around her may have done to their community. The bad vibe that her home has always had stems from a rot so deep it decays through to the other sides of graves, and at least one supernatural presence will not rest. The unexplainable is about to explode into the unforgettable.
Eerie, tense and violent, THE PACT’s spectral existence first came into being as a chilling 11-minute short that blew the walls out at Sundance 2011 (Fantasians saw the film’s international premiere last summer when it screened with MARIANNE). McCarthy’s feature film expansion of his ghost story tightly encompasses a retelling of the short’s happenings into its opening sequence, allowing him complete freedom for the 80 minutes that ensue. Those minutes are packed with spooky scares and skin-crawling surprises, not to mention several harrowingly pregnant silences over which you will almost certainly be hearing the entire audiences’ hearts collectively pounding. With his feature directorial debut, McCarthy has shown himself to be a burgeoning master of atmospheric dread, setting up both jolts and wispy, creeping fear with aplomb. His casting choices prove to be equally astute, with Lotz positively owning the screen as the film’s tough, wounded heroine. Also worth mentioning is Casper Van Dien’s turn as a haggard police detective who ventures too deeply down a supernatural rabbit hole. The short-film version was a masterpiece of atmospherics and implied otherworldly menace. McCarthy’s feature retains those elements, while also introducing decidedly more physical and brutalizing aspects of the paranormal, making for a riveting experience in horror/crime/suspense cinema. The dead will not sleep. After seeing this film, you won’t either.
— Mitch Davis