Over the last few years even with as much as I personally have enjoyed the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films I can’t help but admit it was time for something a little different. By different, I mean a ghost story that actually feels like it’s trying to go somewhere with the intention of giving the audience closure rather than a barrage of franchise friendly endings. Also, one that’s not framed with the concept of found footage and what different ways they can stage said found footage. THE PACT accomplishes all of those things in an accessible way that should attract fans of the PA series, but also satisfy fans of more old school ghost stories.
Following the death of her mother a young woman returns home after her sister mysteriously disappears from their childhood home to find that there may be a supernatural presence lurking within. The premise is short and sweet, which means it requires almost no effort to immerse yourself in the experience, until later on when a little more story and mystery gets placed in front of you. The story never gets hard to follow and the filmmakers take efforts to basically spell it out loud for you- something I don’t always appreciate when I feel like I could figure it out for myself.
The best parts of the film are often the things that people flock to the theaters to see in the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films- the ghostly happenings. Here you get moments of an unseen force pulling people along the floor, throwing them against the wall, but you also actually SEE ghostly figures and moments to add to the proceedings and get the blood chilling. The filmmakers are dealing with a low budget, but do a great job of framing the events in a way that look cool and add to the tension.
The score is quite good as well though heavy-handed at times. It reminded me a bit of THE ENTITY, when the ghost was attacking there were heavy drumbeats present that seemed to be there to emphasize something horrific was happening. Other times the score was dread inducing even when there may not have been anything spooky happening. Loud low piano tones often ring out at times as well during scare moments- one that sticks out involving the cop, played by Casper Van Dien that caught me completely by surprise.
THE PACT began as a short and although I feel the full length feature is quite good, I feel like the material was stretched a pit past its capacity to turn it into a feature. The performances are serviceable, but far from what I would call good and there are elements of the plot that seems stretched to its limit in transition from short to full length feature. THE PACT is a spooky little flick with plenty to offer, but one that in the end was a just a little too big for its britches.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)