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The Pact 
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Burning Godzilla
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2001 2:48 am
Posts: 5001
Location: Brighton, MI
The Pact

2012 release, directed & written by Nicholas McCarthy

Starring Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien

PLOT SUMMARY: We open with a woman named Nichole (Agnes Bruckner) on the phone demanding that her sister come home to help put their mother's affairs in order, in the days following mother's death. The sister, Annie (Lotz), very reluctantly does so, revealing herself to closely resemble her sister; they are both pretty but rather hard-bitten young women who are very unhappy to be back in their childhood home. This is is a small house in San Pedro, California with the Christmas tree up, crosses and statues of saints pretty much everywhere you look, and incredibly busy wallpaper making the small rooms and narrow hallways look even tighter than they are. beyond that there is very little sign of the owner's personality; the pictures on the wall, if not of Jesus, are anonymous, decorative store-bought items for the most part, hung to fill up the wall space. The furniture is average. Nichole and Annie are decorated rather like the house; Nichole is tattooed with a few large crosses. We will soon see that Annie sports a large, heavy-looking cross under the leathers she wears on her motorcycle. Before that point, we see Nichole trying to face-time with a pretty little daughter about 9 years old, but the call cuts out just as her daughter asks, "Mommy, who is that standing behind you?" Nichole turns to see nothing but a closet door standing ajar...And then Annie arrives to find the place wide open, the lights on and no sign of her sister. Soon enough, the cousin caring for the little girl brings her to the funeral, but Nichole never shows up. They all stay at the house because Annie feels kind of freaked out there alone...and then the ghosts start showing up.


>> This is an interestingly understated film. So many movies do a ton of exposition, but here they give you just enough to know about the grim young adulthoods of both girls in the family. Annie points the finger at their mother, but other than a single, bitter glance into her coffin we get no real story about what went on that drove her daughters away.

>> Casper Van Dien plays the compassionate police detective assigned to figure out what happened to Nichole. He skillfully draws out Annie, who has overheard other cops telling him that she's crazy, and keeps it real with her, explaining that he suspects foul play and wants her help in understanding what happened. This is all very understated as well; he says "You know what I suspect, right? You know why, right?" and beyond that there's not a lot of discussion. It's an intriguing balance between "neither of us knows what's going on here" (when it comes to Nichole's disappearance) and "we both know what's going on here" (when it comes to the reasons the detective already knew Nichole by first name before Annie ever showed up in his precinct). I never thought of the Casper as subtle before...

>> The hauntings are genuinely scary as crap. They don't waste an instant of screen time on Annie pleading with a psychiatrist that "You've gotta believe me, doc!" She knows she is on her own and she uses her own resources to get the answers she needs. We see what she sees, and we crap ourselves, and we keep watching while sitting in it because the story is too gripping to do anything else.

>> And wait'll you get a load of Annie's resources. Haley Hudson is outstanding, even in this spooky film, for being spookier than a fuzzyduckling. She introduces elements of the story that would be -- have been -- laughable in other movies. Here they make them pretty much work, like her version of the Ouija board. They manage to raise the tension rather than ruin it with the same plot device that has ruined many a higher-budget film. Nice!

>> The answers she finds are not what you would expect. That's a nice departure from the usual, too.

See this one. It's the best Halloween movie I saw this year and I'll reach for it again and again.

Guy in bar: "I got 50 dollars in my pocket saying you're coming home with me tonight."
Girl in bar: "They're lying to you."
(from Psychos In Love)

Sample piscatorial love at Cliffie's Notes! Now in blog form for the greater good of the Fish Conspiracy!

Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:09 am
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