There are plenty of scares and ample build up at the front end of the film. I found myself jumping several times within the first 30 minutes of the movie. There were a few generic scares along the way, but the film doesn’t rely on them to keep the viewer’s attention. The scares continue and only intensify in the last 30 minutes (the Ouija board scene was particularly jarring).
The Pact builds a taught, unsettling feeling. By the time it was over, I was rattled. That rarely happens to me anymore.
One of the things that works well is that The Pact plays on our fear of the unknown. For most of the movie, the audience has no idea what kind of evil Annie is up against. Many films make the mistake of either giving too much away in the previews or revealing too much, too soon.
There is a twist at the end, but it was a welcome change from the twists that have been used and reused to death. It was ultimately a satisfying ending. Although there was a lot left unexplained, I was mostly pleased with the outcome.
I liked Caity Lotz (Death Valley), as Annie. She is a relative newcomer, but she turned in a fine performance. And while the majority of the supporting performances were effective, Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) as Officer Creek left a lot to be desired. The scene where he is trying to relate to Annie, at the police station was really forced. His character was hard to watch and came of as a little ridiculous.
Haley Hudson was too over the top in her performance as Stevie, the psychic. I couldn’t figure out if her character was intended to be funny or taken seriously. I suspect that her performance was meant to be taken seriously, but it was too outrageous to be believed.
Some of the camerawork was a little shoddy and some of the scene transitions and editing made the film look amateur. None of the film’s shortcomings were dramatic enough to detract significantly from the film, though. Almost all of the film’s aesthetic issues could have been solved with a bigger budget.
The very limited gore effects were great. They were done practically and didn't hold back.
All in all, I enjoyed The Pact and it’s well worth checking out.