Sunday, August 5, 2012


We can all agree that a banquet of fast food is not anything like a banquet of gourmet offerings. “The Pact,” a low-budget screamer now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., is definitely in the fast food category – but is also a banquet of sorts.
First time writer/director Nicholas McCarthy shows flashes of brilliance in presenting his generic plot of genre spooky stuff refreshingly free of gratuitous gore and fantasy special effects.
The timing and shadowy lighting become effective additives to maximize the tension, heightened by a full score of intimidating original music by Ronen Landa. This is horror more in the Japanese manner, where the sound of wispy willows can turn into a death rattle.
Caity Lotz plays Annie the beautiful damsel in distress, an angry miss on a motorcycle whose determination to prove her missing sister is just another drug-abusing slacker keeps keeping Annie in more trouble.
Agnes Bruckner is Nichole, Annie’s tattooed sister with a baby. She has a small but pivotal part in the beginning, baiting the trap for what comes after.
The plot is just a jumble of odd parts as Annie returns to her mother’s house after her mother’s funeral, looking for Nichole. Hints of horrifying family secrets fill the air. The house itself seems to hate Annie, the more she digs into discovering Nichole.
Most everything takes place inside, with doors slamming, refrigerators opening, shadows cloaking every moment.
McCarthy to his credit minimizes the negative impact of his limited actors by giving them little to say but lots to risk.
The Loft has invested years in developing a solid audience for this kind of film. “The Pact” is right in the pocket, providing cheap thrills with an instant rush.

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