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The Pact II (2014)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/7/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/7/2015
OK, here's the thing about sequels: We often complain that Hollywood has lost any shred of originality and that every year we see more and more sequels. But, playing "Devil's Advocate", there's no denying the fact that we get excited by sequels. If we hear that a follow-up to a movie that we enjoyed is coming out, there is, as the very least, an interest in wanting to check it out, if not a determination to see it. Even if the first film ending with everything wrapped up neatly with no logical need for a continuation, deep-down, we like the idea. However, experience should have taught us by now that there is a reason that unnecessary sequels are thought of as unnecessary sequels, and thus we gets movies like The Pact II.
InThe Pact, we were introduced to Annie (Caity Lotz) who came home for her mother's funeral and not only learned that the family history included concealing the identity of a serial killer, but contended with a poltergeist as well. As The Pact II opens, we meet June (Camilla Luddington), a young woman who cleans crime scenes by day, and works on her graphic novel at night. She lives with her boyfriend, Daniel (Scott Michael Foster), who is a police officer, and she helps her mother, Maggie (Amy Pietz), who is in recovery. June begins to have strange visions and incorporates them into her art. Agent Ballard (Patrick Fischer) has come to town to investigate a series of bizarre murders and he's surprised to learn that June's art mimics the recent murders. Ballard discovers that June has a link to the serial killer from the first film, and this sets June on a path to learn more about her family, which puts everyone around her in danger.
The Pact was an impressive little movie which seamlessly blended the popular haunted house and serial killer genres into a movie which had just enough supernatural and real-life horrors to be effective. While clearly a low-budget affair, the film created some suspense and offered enough twists to keep the viewer engaged. It was certainly one of my favorite horror films of 2012.
On the extras for The Pact II, Writers/Directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath pretty much admit that they were hired to write a sequel to The Pact from scratch. What does this mean? This means that the producers saw no obvious, organic entry point for a sequel and that the first film did nothing to pave the way for a sequel, so Hallam and Horvath were tasked with creating a brand new story. The result is something which harkens back to many of the cheap, direct-to-video horror sequels of the 80s and 90s in which we get a movie which is comprised of 95% new characters and the link to the first film is tenuous at best. Caity Lotz does have a cameo here and June is tied to the family from the first film, but in many ways, The Pact II might as well be its own movie.
And that movie isn't a very good movie. I guess that the makers of The Pact II should be applauded for making a movie which isn't a carbon copy of the first film, but they may have been better off in going in that direction. Instead, we get a movie which is needlessly jumbled and in places, makes little sense. The main problem is that The Pact II wants to be a hybrid movie like the first one, but it can juggle its ingredients correctly. It's a little bit of a ghost movie, it's a little bit of a serial killer movie, it's a little bit of a psychic movie, it's a little bit of a family drama -- and none of these elements congeal or work. We watch the characters do what they do and it never feels the least bit organic. The relationship between June and Daniel is so stiff, it doesn't feel like a romantic one. We never learn how or why June became a crime-scene cleaner, other than the fact that it's a job. June's visit to The Pink Room may be the worst scene of investigation in cinema history. ("Tell me again why she went there?", my wife asked as we watched the movie.) The movie's biggest sin may be the fact that it assumes that we've not only seen The Pact, but that we have it committed to memory, as it does nothing to recap that film and it's questionable link to the first movie doesn't help.
Again, I liked The Pact and even though I knew that it wasn't necessary, I was interested in The Pact II. What I got was a movie which was nothing like its predecessor. The Pact began as a slice-of-life family drama which morphed into a wacky ghost movie. The Pact II begins as a boring police procedural and goes nowhere from there. The movie isn't the least bit creepy or suspenseful and it doesn't even have the good sense to bring back the "face under the wallpaper effect" from the first film. If you liked The Pact, you will want to avoid this sequel, as it will only sully your memories of the first film.
The Pact II made me sad to see Cappy in a movie like this on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of IFC. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image did get a bit soft at times, but otherwise the level of detail is good and the depth is what one would expect from a modern film shot on HD. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The subwoofer effects really add to the "shock" sequences and create a palpable rumble at times. The surround and stereo effects work quite well in the scenes where June is hearing strange noises in her house.
The Pact II Blu-ray Disc is practically shorn of extra features. "The Dark Hereafter" (18 minutes) is a making-of featurette which begins with Co-Writers/Co-Directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath discussing how they approached the project and spun off a story from the first film. They then talk about their directing style and how they work together. From there, the piece examines the making of the film and the characters. Here, we hear from the actors, and we are treated to some on-set footage. The only other extra is the TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long