The Pact 2 may not have an original bone in its body, but fans of the first should enjoy this second outing.
by Nav Qateel
The first The Pact (2012) was written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy, and based on his popular 2011 short film of the same name. Picking right up where we left off, The Pact 2 sees the return of Annie Barlow (Caity Lotz) and Stevie (Haley Hudson), after main character June Abbott (Camilla Luddington) finds she’s the new target of the dead Judas Killer (Mark Steger), who we saw die after being shot in the head by Annie at the end of the first movie. This time, however, rather than us being led to believe he was an evil spirit, that’s exactly what he’s now become.
June cleans up crime scenes (yup, just like in Sunshine Cleaning, minus the humor) and through cop boyfriend Daniel Mayer (Scott Michael Foster), June gets plenty of work. We open on Daniel guarding a crime scene that looks to be the handiwork of a copycat of The Judas Killer. FBI Agent Ballard (Patrick Fischler) profiled Judas for 20 years, and after inspecting the crime scene for himself, agrees that this is the work of a Judas wannabe. This killer, though, takes the victims’ heads as trophy’s. Daniel gets June the job of cleaning this crime scene and when June arrives to start work, she begins getting flashes of memory. It’s not long before she’s being dragged around by an invisible force, having ghosts jump out at her at really annoying moments, and having doors being slammed shut on her … a lot. An awful lot.
I actually dug The Pact, imperfections and all, and I even enjoyed The Pact 2 (oddly enough), even though it’s like its poor sick cousin by comparison. It lacked here and there, with the script being the worst offender. It ran through a checklist of done-to-death tropes of the sort one would expect to find at the rear of “An Idiot’s Guide to Making a Horror Film.” How many ways can we see a mirrored bathroom cabinet door getting closed, revealing a ghostly apparition with bared teeth and clawed hands?! We even had flickering lights to remind us when to scream. Someone walking into the shot holding up a banner that reads “Prepare To Scream” would’ve been more subtle.
While I was less than enamoured with the script (incase you hadn’t pick up on that), the characters and cast playing them were enough to make The Pact 2 a far better prospect than it deserved. Having Camilla Luddington and Caity Lotz in the same movie didn’t hurt one bit either. June was a good character to traverse the movie with, with Luddington giving as convincing a performance as Lotz managed in the first. Both talented actresses suit their strong characters, adding a depth and quality that isn’t apparent from the narrative alone.
Patrick Fischler’s Agent Ballard was a great character for the actor to play and was one of those perfect casting choices that one doesn’t see often enough. Ballard has this intense and unnerving stare that Fischler nailed beautifully. Haley Hudson’s Stevie was another example of a solid bit of casting, and if you thought the actress only had a small part in the first film, wait until you see just how little she’s used here. Lotz is only used in the final act but at least Annie was still a prominent character, getting to do her fair share of work. Scott Michael Foster played the cop boyfriend as well as could be expected with his arc of the story.
Sure, The Pact 2 may not have an original bone in its body, I am, however, confident the majority of fans of the first will enjoy seeing familiar characters once again. Thanks to the writing being weak in places, you can see the reveal coming a mile away, yet it doesn’t take anything more out of the film. This is directing duo Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath’s second movie together, and the fact they took no real chances with the story, suggests they perhaps didn’t want to stray too far from everything established in the first. Although they failed to recreate the atmosphere of the first, they did succeed in putting together a reasonably entertaining horror. It’s certainly worth seeing if you’re a fan of The Pact.