Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Pact (2012)

A book publisher serves as gate keeper for the reading public. A publisher will unleash story analysts, editors, proofreaders, typesetters on a manuscript before it is deemed saleable. A publisher is quality control. Their house acts as guarantor for a heightened reading experience. This is how it should be. The reality is somewhat different otherwise James Patterson would be selling timeshares in Huatulco, Mexico.

The Hollywood studios are trusted with the same task in the movie business. Their failure explains why McG still has a job. That notwithstanding they have established a benchmark for production values; this is what a film looks like for the price of admission. A perfect example of this is Gone 2012 – a risible thriller with visual panache.

Independent distributors exist to promote foreign, niche and esoteric pictures with the quality control of the gatekeeper remaining paramount. In 1999 The Blair Witch Project proved that video feature films can achieve (somewhat) artistic and commercial success. It lowered the visual quality threshold. It opened the market and the technology followed.

In this century these ‘films’ are so ubiquitous that the mere mention of ‘low budget’ is the threat of camcorder cinema. Successes like Paranormal Activity 2009 and The Devil Inside 2012 notwithstanding the production values do not merit the price of a multiplex cinema ticket. With this being the case IFC released The Pact 2012 via Video-On-Demand in the States. In the UK distributor Entertainment One released the film in cinema screen saturation.
Caity Lotz: final girl fail
The ghost story in The Pact is the antithesis of ye olde English manor. It is contemporary as opposed to period; the haunting takes place in shack-like dwellings and not a spacious mansion; the final girl is a tattooed tomboy not a demure lady. If horror is the best genre for young actresses why correct it with political homogeneity?

The lead character is in a quest to find her missing sister. An unseen force attacks the hero inside the haunted house. The effects with wires are good. The biggest creep scare is stolen from In the Mouth of Madness 1995.The story is languid. The plot is torpid. The lead actress Caity Lotz is underwhelming. The biggest cliché is the seer. The biggest unintentional laugh is Casper Van Dien. The biggest loser is the audience.

The audience is at the mercy of exhibitors, distributors, independent production houses and the studios. They exercise no quality control. The Pact would be better appreciated on cable in the wee hours during a bout of insomnia where no gatekeepers control the quality.

The Pact went on general release 8th June in the UK and via VOD on 25th May in the US.
Read more Thrill Fiction: Alien
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