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The Pact (3 stars)

An unoriginal, low budget thriller that’s light on gore and stronger on tension

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The Pact

The latest US horror/thriller to be granted a UK release has a slightly better pedigree than most: writer/director Nicholas McCarthy’s film was developed from his own short, which was shown last year at Sundance, quickly developed into this feature which debuted at the same festival earlier this year.

In an opening that recreates the action of the original short, Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) moves into the oddly-wallpapered house vacated by her freshly deceased mother, only to quickly go missing. Her tough-nut sister Annie (Mad Men’s Caity Lotz) has developed an understandable suspicion of the house, but arrives to investigate her sisters disappearance, soon finding herself bounced from room to room by a powerful and malevolent supernatural force. Annie’s investigations lead her to seek help from a local cop (Casper Van Dien, still reliably wooden 15 years after Starship Troopers) but it’s ultimately within her own family that the real secrets reside.

The Pact is a low budget thriller that’s light on gore and stronger on tension in the old-school John Carpenter way, without adding much new of its own. It’s a promising, efficient debut for McCarthy, but any kind of originality isn’t part of the deal.

General release from Fri 8 Jun.

The Pact

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 88 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
  • Written by: Nicholas McCarthy
  • Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner
  • UK release: 8 June 2012

Nicole (Bruckner) moves into the house vacated by her newly dead mother, only to go missing. Her sister (Lotz) arrives to investigate, but the house appears to contain a malevolent supernatural force. Writer/director McCarthy's thriller is light on gore and strong on tension, if hardly original.

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The Pact trailer

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