It’s hard to surprise people anymore when it comes to supernatural thrillers or mystery films. The best any writer or director can do these days is institute great pacing and hope that an engaging storyline will keep spectators invested as they deliver their version of something we’ve all probably witnessed before. “The Pact 2” successfully does this and delivers some truly great scares in an era where everyone knows exactly when and where to expect something to happen.
June Abbott (Camilla Luddington) spends the days cleaning up crime scenes and the nights using her experiences as fuel for a book she is illustrating. She begins having visions of the Judas Killer (Mark Steger) and his victims just as her police officer boyfriend (Scott Michael Foster) starts investigating a new case. It involves a psycho patterning his killings after the infamous murderer. Are her nightmares trying to warn her of something genuine she has to fear? When real life begins to spiral out of control, June contacts a former victim of the Judas Killer named Annie (Caity Lotz) to help her make sense of the events unraveling around her.
Many out there are reading this with a furrowed brow while thinking, “I’ve never even heard of the first ‘The Pact.’ How did it get a sequel?” The original 2012 flick terrified crowds on the festival circuit and gained critical praise before being picked up by IFC Films for home entertainment distribution. It did well enough that producers felt it warranted a sequel.
It’s not often that a sequel to a movie is effective at following up its predecessor, but “The Pact 2” makes a valiant attempt at doing so. Instead of retreading the same ground the first one did, it continues the story and moves into unexplored territory. I’m highly impressed at how great this turned out without the hands of original Director / Writer Nicholas McCarthy so far in the background. The only credit he gets here is as an executive producer.
Good horror movies need to build up the tension to scare people now. The days of a black cat jumping out of a closet and making you pee yourself are long gone. Now it’s about the anticipation of something happening that keeps people on their toes and the edges of their seats. “The Pact 2” had me recoiling in fear throughout its entirety thanks to the navigation of fairly new directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath.
A lot of the eerie and unsettling atmosphere instituted in “The Pact 2” comes from its sinister musical score supplied by composer Carl Sondrol. It perfectly complements every scene in the movie and conjures feelings of dread in the viewer. Just the music alone could make your hair stand on end, even without the help of any visuals.
Caity Lotz returns from “The Pact” to help link things to the first film. She acts as a sort of guide to the subject of the Judas Killer’s torment this time around. You can tell Lotz doesn’t think of “The Pact 2” as just another independent job to collect some quick cash. She pours herself into the character and genuinely delivers a strong performance.
“The Pact 2” is unrated but doesn’t cross any lines that would keep it from gaining an R or even PG-13. There’s some sensuality with no nudity. Frightening sequences overpower any gore seen onscreen. The language is nothing we haven’t heard in any other PG-13 or R rated movies.
Although you have your suspicions of how “The Pact 2” is going to turn out in the end, the journey getting there is rewarding and entertaining. Much like “Insidious Chapter 2,” it doesn’t settle with just repeating what its predecessor did. It builds on the mythos already established and takes you further into the nightmare Director / Writer Nicholas McCarthy originally conceived.
“The Pact 2” is available now as a Digital Download.