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DVD Review: THE PACT (BLU-RAY)



Studio: IFC Films
Year: 2011
Cast: Caity Lotz, Casper Van Dien, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Haley Hudson, Sam Ball, Mark Steger, Agnes Bruckner
Director: Nicholas McCarthy
Release Date: November 06, 2012
Rating: R for (some strong bloody violence and language)
Run Time: 01h:29m:03s
Genre(s): horror

“So, my mother had a brother?” - Annie (Caity Lotz)

THE PACT (BLU-RAY)

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This creepy flick got the raw end of the deal with a miniscule theatrical release earlier this year. It deserved much more and will hopefully garner a much bigger audience via IFC's Blu-ray release.

Movie Grade: A-

DVD Grade: A-

Despite their recent penchant for releasing more mainstream, nearly direct-to-video fare (The Tortured, for example), I’ve made a point to try and see everything that IFC Films has put their name on, through the years. The Pact is where my love of IFC Films got really tricky, at least when I was gauging the extent of my desire to see it, that is. Again, reason number one that I did want to see it: IFC Films. Conversely, there were numerous reasons, on the surface, that my excitement level for the film was lowered. The story was a seemingly formulaic one, for starters, but when you add a rather ridiculous-looking, bearded Casper Van Dien (yes, THAT Casper Van Dien) to the mix, red flags were flying all over the place. It turns out I was way wrong, and should have listened to my “IFC instincts” from the get-go, as The Pact isn’t only a great surprise, it’s one of the best horror films of the year.

The Pact began its life as a short film from filmmaker Nicholas McCarthy that was a Sundance Film Festival darling. As a result of that success, McCarthy was given the go-ahead, and the financing to extend his short into a feature film, resulting in the excellent work we have here. This is one of those slow-burn horror flicks that are best viewed if you know very few plot details and have no semblance of an idea about any of the interesting twists and turns that fuel key parts of the film. What you should know a lot about is the lead performance by Caity Lotz (Mad Men), who avoids portraying Annie as the typical hard-nosed heroine, and instead, makes her a unique, vulnerable, yet still feisty and determined woman, who certainly can hold her own against anyone, or anything. As much as I’d like to say something different, Casper Van Dien, despite being in this, arguably, the highest-quality film of his career (sorry, Starship Troopers is in a class all of its own), is still Casper Van Dien. His ridiculous facial hair, actually deserves higher billing than he does, as it shows much more life, and gives a much more engaging performance than he does.

IFC Films has done a wonderful job with their Blu-ray disc of The Pact. The film never got a fair shake in the few theaters it was in (it was slightly buoyed by a simultaneous On-Demand release), but it shows up here in a spectacular, 1080p video presentation. Still looking like the low-budget film that it is, it manages to avoid looking distractingly “cheap” thanks to a near flawless visual effort. The aforementioned low budget prevents it from having a nice, polished look that many larger-budgeted, Hollywood efforts enjoy, but the total lack of unnatural video alterations or compression issues allow it to simply look the best that it possibly can, and will, look. The DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1 track gives us an engrossing, lossless audio experience that adds another level of terror to much of the proceedings thanks, to creepy, sharp music cues, and rumbling bass that enhances the most intense sequences even further. There are only a couple of Special Features here, including A Haunting in San Pedro, a 20- minute making-of peace that’s full of interesting on-set footage and interviews which provide a great deal of insight into the making of The Pact. The other extra is the film’s theatrical trailer that only hints at the effectiveness of this surprise gem of a movie.

Posted by: Chuck Aliaga - December 10, 2012, 8:06 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: sinister, haunting, clairvoyant




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