Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Pact

***1/2 (2012)

I have big data to thank for this one. I was skimming Netflix for possible thon movies this year, and I noticed a few horror flicks I'd never heard of that the service was telling me I'd rate really highly. And let's face it, these days, no one knows our own tastes better than that big red data crunching algorithm in our TV set. Netflix predicted I'd like this one at 4+ stars, and so I went in with total faith that it would be at least decent, and probably better. Sure enough, I gave it 4 on the Netflix meter (I'm an easier grader there, with its lack of 1/2 stars).

First things first, let me say I was generally scared at certain points in this movie. Like seriously, all the hair standing straight on my neck. It was pretty cool, actually, noticing that physiological reaction--it's been awhile since I remember feeling one so vividly.

The movie is about a pair of sisters trying to deal with their mother's recent death. When one disappears early on, the other has to take over caring for her niece while also trying to figure out the whereabouts of her sister. This leads into a fun and smart mash-up of the haunted house and serial killer genres.

 I really dug this version of the medium. You can imagine her growing up, getting fat, and ending up as the little lady from Poltergeist.

What makes this movie so good? It's small, for one thing, and embraces that. It has an almost indie feel in the best sense of that term. I can imagine a fairly small crew being paid not very much money but just doing really quality work. The script is minimalist and intelligent. The actors are all natural and credible; even Casper Van Diem is good in a brief role. I'm not really sure who that is, but I know I know the name, and I feel like he's usually really bad. He sort of looks like a more handsome Richard Grieko, so I was really prepped for him to ruin the movie when he first showed up, but nah, he's solid too.

The main actress is Caity Lutz, who I just realized played one of Don Draper's conquests in a brief arc on Mad Men a few years ago, and she's really good.


Catfreeek said...

I have this one in my queue, I'm pumped to hear its solid and since you and I often enjoy the same films I feel like its a sure bet.

AC said...

nice find, landshark! love that physiological scare reaction.

JPX said...

We rated this exactly the same! I completely agree with your review. Here's how I summed it up,

"The house, in particular, is just wonderful for a horror movie. Covered with crazy old lady wallpaper, claustrophobic space, creaky floorboards and squeaky doors, it is the perfect place for a haunting.

Brrrrrrrr! Old fashioned scares just the way I like them. Great stuff."

Crystal Math said...

Looks good, and I like it when the indie horror delivers!

DCD said...

This is in my queue as well, you totally scooped me, Landshark!

(Except not really as I haven't even watched it yet.) At least I know it's worth watching!

Octopunk said...

Nice one! I love when that chilly hairs-on-the-neck thing happens.

I looked up the Mad Men actress and I think she's the niece of Don's California buddy (the real Mrs. Draper), so not exactly a conquest. Sigh.