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The Pact (2012)



Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 9,210

My Rating

Movie Info

After their mother passes away, sisters Nicole (Bruckner) and Annie (Lotz) reluctantly return to their childhood home to pay their last respects. While staying overnight in the house, the sisters sense a mysterious presence in their midst: noises startling them in the night, objects moving about, a fallen picture of an unknown woman posed next to their mother. Annie begins experiencing a series of intense and disturbing dreams visions that lead her to uncover something terrible about her mothers

Nov 6, 2012

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (11) | DVD (1)

The explanations for what has been going on are weird, fantastical and sort of reasonable, within the context of the story, maintaining the film's sense of grounded directness up to the very end.

July 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

McCarthy is clearly an economical director and what he gets on screen here - while hardly new - is still effective and occasionally creepy.

July 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A tightly controlled low-budget chiller whose occasional moments of unexpected special effects are set up beautifully by long periods of suspense.

July 6, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the end, like a lot of genre movies, this one pulls from different inspirations, and so weighs in, by turns, as overly predictable and satisfyingly recognizable (part of genre cinema's one-two punch).

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In truth, there's nothing here we haven't seen before. But McCarthy, who also wrote the straightforward script, keeps the pace moving and the atmosphere eerie (if rarely terrifying).

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More horror movies set in the 21st century ought to integrate technology into their scares as well as Nicholas McCarthy's The Pact.

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nicholas McCarthy admirably tries to deliver both a terrifying tale of horror while mixing in more gritty elements, but doesn't explain much as to why.

September 14, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Quite easily, one of the scariest films I've seen in a long while... It's a corker.

August 25, 2012 Full Review Source: CraveOnline

Debut director Nicholas McCarthy possesses a good grasp of effective, tension-building technique in this psychologically rooted chiller, in which dark, repressed memories of a turbulent childhood bubble to the surface.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

The film has some cheap thrills ... but lacks more sustained tension.

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

A satisfying ghost story without leaning too hard into trends. It's not a deliciously overwhelming feature, but The Pact has modest vision worth a look.

July 6, 2012 Full Review Source:

The best thing The Pact has going for it is the way it manages to play its cards right, despite the fact that it doesn't have many aces up its sleeve.

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

When The Pact descends, finally, from suggestion to explication, the scares regrettably slink away.

July 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

[VIDEO ESSAY] "The Pact" is a horror movie with training wheels. It's for audiences who have never seen one before and don't want to be too scared.

July 2, 2012 Full Review Source:

At times scream-out-loud scary, with a second half that can't maintain the momentum.

June 11, 2012 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

To those brave enough to stomach the horrors of the Saw series, The Pact will seem tame.

June 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express | Comment (1)
Daily Express

The film cleverly exploits aspects of everyone's childhood.

June 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Expanding a successful short, first-time feature, director Nicholas McCarthy displays more savvy than inspiration: there's some technical ingenuity to the jumps, but not a lot of logic.

June 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

While it retreads well-trodden horror paths and shies away from any originality, it does favour heightening the mystery over goriness, relying on some impressive visuals ...

June 7, 2012 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Pact

3 3/4's ..I liked this movie. It was pretty good, right up until the last five seconds making absolutely no sense what-so-ever. Another nightmare? I don't know. But hey, 99% of creepy horror movies do this with their endings. Now, what I can't figure out is why this movie is called "The Pact." I could make a guess, but that would be pure conjecture from me. Quite honestly, there are plenty of unanswered questions, but I think we can blame editing for that. All in all, though, it gets pretty good marks from me for creepiness factor...
October 23, 2013

Super Reviewer


The Pact feels as if it's been constructed from an infinite number of inspirations stretching from classic ghost story horror cinema to the recent wave of found footage films but at the same time because of such great execution you could never actually call it generic. The story is about a woman who moves back to her childhood home to attend her mothers funeral, while she's there she get's thrown around the house by a paranormal presence and tries to find out whether or not it's the spirit of her mother. It get's more complicated as it progresses, to the point where it unfortunately becomes a bit non sensical even despite the fact there's a general lack of well concieved and intricate plotting. But after a fantastic set up and the developent of a creepy atmosphere it runs out of fresh ideas and chooses to throw out the typical cliche's aimlessly, and even adds into the mix the incredibly annoying "final jump", before the credits start to roll and doesn't end the way it should. On the plus side the acting is surpirisingly decent for a low budgeter and Nicholas McCarthy's stylistic direction and haunting visuals are genuinely creepy to the point where I wanted them to be terrifying rather than eery. I honestly wouldn't call it a scary horror film by a stretch, it's a lot creepier than the recent studio backed horror flicks, even if it doesn't explore it's mildly intriguing premise enough. Alhough nothing remarkable certainly worth a look.
November 10, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Oh my this was damn scary!
June 30, 2012
Dead Angel

Super Reviewer

As one of the most frustrating horror films I've ever sat through, "The Pact" is an irrational balance of well designed suspense sequences smothered amidst a somewhat confusing and at many times inconceivable storyline. Written and directed by first time feature film director Nicholas McCarthy, and adapted from McCarthy's own short film, "The Pact" gives an interesting take on the generic haunted house story, but with a script that really makes little sense, containing so many ill advised twists that are bookended by a myriad of distracting plot points concerning people dying and disappearing and nobody seeming to care. And even if one were to put the confusing nature of "The Pact" aside, the larger cloud which looms over it is a conclusion that detours so far off of the spooky/ghost story path from which it began, that it sadly becomes a mundane "who done it" story, the likes of which one would see on The Lifetime Network.

The Plot: When a woman dies, her two daughters come to her house only to come in contact with a series of seemingly paranormal happenings. And to make things worse, one night one of the sister's disappears, leaving the other to solve a mystery that coincides with a horrible secret her mother has kept for more than thirty years. Now while this premise does play out to be rather intriguing and the suspense (for most of the film) makes a strong case for low budget horror stories, as soon as crucial plot points begin to arise (beginning around half way through the movie) "The Pact" slowly begins to unravel, resulting in a film which becomes more and more confusing and, in the end, more and more forgettable.

Side Note Challenge: Even the title is somewhat confusing since there doesn't seem to be an official pact (or a discussion of said pact) anywhere in the film. So, here is your challenge my loyal readers: Anyone who has seen this film, and is currently reading this, please write me back and enlighten me about when said "pact" takes place. Thusly, you will be crowned as the smartest man/woman who ever lived.

Final Thought: Let me reiterate that the only real plus with "The Pact" is how suspenseful it is; at least for the initial hour. But it still doesn't erase that fact that time and time again, due to a very misguided script, this is a film which hits multiple cinematic forks in the road; where one path leads down a predictable but rather interesting road, and another which leads down the path of predictably dull and extremely lackluster. Guess which path "The Pact" goes down, every single time.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Check out my other reviews at:

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
June 28, 2012
Markus Emilio Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

    1. Stevie: You've gotta go back inside of the house.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Creek: You live sixteen years in this house... you have no memory of this room?
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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