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Daily Archives: January 21, 2012
One can only imagine the need and desire of the Sundance Film Festival to support and present returning talents, as filmmakers who presented shorts in earlier years return with features, often based around those same shorts. One can also only imagine the need and desire of the programmers of the festival’s Midnight section to wade and work through a raft of submissions looking for films with enough punch, panache and strength to amuse (and keep awake) a late-night audience of film lovers. Both of those aims can be seen in the 2012 Sundance premiere of “The Pact,” based on a short of the same name writer-director Nicholas McCarthy presented here in Park City only last year. At the same time, and I say this with no pleasure or smug mugging, that “The Pact” stands as, perhaps, the worst film I’ve seen at Sundance in 12 years, an unholy muddle of too many plot points and a series of directorial choices that require three separate characters being incredibly stupid just to move the lumbering bulk of the plot forward between its jump-scares. All the while, a pulsing and pounding score plays, so loudly that I did not feel like someone was playing a cello near my ear or in my ear but, rather, with my ear.
Caity Lotz stars as Annie, who’s reluctantly come home to deal with her mother’s funeral and the disappearance of her sister (and single mom) from the family home. Annie knows that her sister has run off before, and waits for her to return. But the house begins to act out — bumps in the night, odd movements, a spectral force hurling Annie against the walls, leading her to find a secret room hidden on the ground floor. Annie finds local detective Creek (Casper Van Dien), who investigates the house’s mysteries with her even as the spectral force in the house guides Annie to the story of the long lost, uncaught serial killer known only as Judas. …