Friday, October 28, 2022

pact man fever.

Day 28 of the fabled 31 Days of Horror and another oldie that I ended up rewatching recently and it's actually stood up quite well.


The Pact (2012).
Dir: Nicholas McCarthy.
Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Agnes Bruckner, Haley Hudson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Samuel Ball and Mark Steger.

Kissy lipped, square jawed MiLF Nicole (Bruckner from the Bruce Campbell classic The Woods) has recently returned to her childhood home to finalize the preparations for her late mother's funeral.

Obviously she's overjoyed by this, especially as she's had to leave her daughter Eva with cousin Liz (Perkins from Episodes and American Horror Story) whilst her wayward biker sister Annie (Mad Men's Lotz, looking for all the world like a dirtier Melissa George) huffily refuses to return home due to childhood 'issues'.

Apart from the sub-soap opera histrionics however, everything else seems to be going to plan, mum's not risen from the grave or anything and there's plenty of soup in the cupboards.

Which is all well and good until during an online call to Eva, Nicole begins to hear strange noises around the house, Eva freaks her mum out even more by saying there's a scary man standing behind her and she soon discovers a broken jar of gherkins in the kitchen.

If that wasn't enough to have you shouting "It's Pipes!" then the mysteriously opened cupboard door should at least hint at getting the hell out of Dodge.

But alas this is a horror movie so it's integral to the plot that Nicole goes and investigates.

Not to surprisingly when Annie arrives the next morning it turns out that Nicole has vanished.

Mysteriously tho' she's left her laptop connected and her phone and clean undies on the bed.


Despite what the packaging said Annie's market stall lightsaber  did not fill her with the powers of a Jedi.                            

Deciding to take advantage of the free food, WI-fi etc. Annie decides to stay over at her mothers house for the night, only to be kept awake by a mix of bad dreams, hideous wallpaper and a series of sinister low angle tracking shots.

Waking with a start the next morning our biker babe is surprised to find a picture frame has spookily fallen to the floor revealing a photo of two pregnant women.

One is obviously (well to Annie it is) her dear departed mum but the other somewhat foxier babe?

Who knows.

Anyway, there's no time to discuss such trivia as it's funeral day, meaning Annie has to wear an uncomfortable dress whilst meeting up with various characters who may become important later.

Namely aforementioned cousin Liz and little Eva.

"Is that you Patrick Harvie?"

The three return to Annie's mother's house to discuss important pieces of character history and story background in order to make it easier for the audience to feel sympathy for Annie's predicament whilst later, just in case you forgot that this was a spooky movie, Annie dreams of a shirtless man crying on a bed as her phone starts beeping whilst pinpointing an address on Google maps.

Lucky it's not an Fisher Price wheel along phone or she'd be fucked.

Farting herself awake Annie is shocked to see a skinny legged figure disappearing into the shadows so decides to go and wake up Liz, who it turns out, has vanished.

Which is spookier still.

Attempting to grab little Eva and leave the house our harsh faced heroine is attacked by forces unseen that throw her from wall to wall like a spring-loaded stunt woman but these mental manifestations aren't enough to stop Annie rescuing her niece and heading to the local police station.

Adam West, up the casino, 1972, Baltimore.....YESCH!

Unfortunately when she gets there not one of the boys in blue believes her story culminating with the officer in charge, the big collared Bill Creek (Van Dien, looking more and more like a homeless Adam West everyday) even going as far as suggesting that Annie herself may have played a part in both her sister's and cousin's disappearances.


Retiring to a local motel, Annie (sans Eva who she's conveniently dumped at the police station) finally notices the bizarre directions cum spooksome message on her phone and, after typing the address into her handy laptop discovers what appears to be a photo of a blurred figure in a floral dress standing by a tree.

Which is nice if not a little tiresome for poor Annie seeing as without warning she drops off to sleep giving her plenty of time to have even more macabre visions of the crying shirtless man, as well as of the woman in a floral dress.

Only this time she's headless.

What does it all mean?

Sorting thru' her mother's papers over breakfast Annie discovers a hidden room on the blueprints of the house and after a quick call to Bill the bill (armed with a handy torch and a fine line in helpful, old school advice) arranges to meet him there.

Within seconds of entering the house (it is a short film after all) Bill has broken down a fake cardboard wall and uncovered the aforementioned hidden room, resplendent in 1970's curry house flock wallpaper and a variety of unusual stains on the floor.

Oh yes, and a spooky woman with removable legs. 

Tracking's dodgy mate.

Deciding that there's definitely something spooky going on, Anne calls her old schoolfriend, the incredibly sexy, and scarily psychic Stevie (ickle doll faced Hudson from Weeds) and invites her to the house to see if she can help contact any rogue spirits wandering about.

What do you mean 'far fetched'?

Didn't your school have a token psychic student?

 Just mine and Annie's then.

Shake well before use.

Stumbling thru' the house and trying to avoid the furniture (she's blind too by the way - obviously being skinny, greasy haired and psychic just wasn't realistic enough) Stevie finally enters the by now not really hidden room.

Almost immediately she drops to the floor shaking and sweating whilst hysterically shouting the name "Judas" at anyone who'll listen.

This scene is, by far the most erotic thing I have seen on the big screen ever.

And just when you think it can't get any sexier a headless corpse of a woman in a floral dress appears floating above them.

It's at this point that Annie realizes it's not actually her mother's spirit that is haunting the house and that we realize that it may not be advisable to get your cock out in the cinema.

Even if it is due to Haley Hudson's tiny red shorts.

"Put it in me!"

Searching for the word "Judas" online, Anne discovers loads of interesting stuff about some bloke called Jesus who, it appears was the son of God.

This Jesus fella had a group of pals including one particular bloke named Judas Iscariot who, fairly infamously kissed and betrayed Jesus to the behatted Sanhedrin priests in exchange for a payment of 30 pieces of silver, after which he hanged himself after a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle.

Judas: beardie bastard.

 Could this Judas be the mysterious figure seen wandering the house?

Or could it be a completely different Judas?

Searching again Annie discovers that the town was once home to a serial killer of the same name (tho' I'm assuming it was an alias, I mean who'd name their kid Judas?) who skulked around the local neighbourhood beheading women.

His  last known victim was a Jennifer Glick, after which he disappeared from view, never to return.

Annie soon realizes that Glick is, in fact the woman in the floral dress with her mother in the photo and, after coming across a crime photo of Jennifer's murder, recognizes her as the woman from her dream.

Meanwhile in Patrick Harvie's mancave...

Deciding that all this weird shit must be in some way related, Annie heads to the address that keeps appearing on her phone and - after amusingly stumbling around in the bushes for a bit - discovers a church where it appears her mother and Jennifer attended.

Alongside an until now unknown sibling of her mothers.

Back at the house detective Creek is having another look around, it seems that when he was developing the crime scene photo's he noticed a ghostly hand pointing to the shoe cupboard, where he discovers a secret door leading into the hidden room.

Unfortunately Creek is murdered to death by an unknown assailant before he can tell anyone.

"Did Freddie Starr do it?"

Contacting Stevie with the new information, our blind babe suggests that Annie should conduct a seance to rid the house of spirits and discover her sisters whereabouts.

Annie excitedly buys some candles and chalk before heading to the house, not realizing that the mysterious presence haunting the halls is much more than just a ghost...

Well by more than just a ghost I really mean her mad serial killing uncle whom her mum boarded up in the hidden room after he killed her pal but you get the idea.

The Pact: Ghosts, girls and jazz hands.

Expanding on his little seen Jewel Staite starring short of the same name, Nicholas McCarthy's first feature is a surprisingly old fashioned ghost story, well told and well played, only marred by a few silly plot holes and a final shot that should have been left on the cutting room floor.

Confidently and solidly directed by McCarthy with a nice central performance from Lotz ably supported by a surprisingly watchable  - as opposed to punchable - Van Dien.

Actually the movie has a lot going for it, it's only as it races towards it's climax that the obligatory coincidences kick in and the cliche counter begins working overtime.

Which is forgivable as the whole thing has been fairly entertaining until then.

True that sometimes McCarthy labours under the misapprehension that the whole plot is much cleverer than it actually is when on close inspection the whole premise falls apart in a puff of logic even if you only slightly peer at it wrong i t may add nothing new to the genre or have the panache of something like The Innkeepers but it is a competent piece of film making.

Which is better than nothing I guess.

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