The first “Pact” film was originally released in 2012 and made a divisive splash in the horror community. It didn’t garner the sort of reaction that would make you think a sequel would be in the works, but it would appear that someone thought it should have a second chance. Does “The Pact 2” improve upon the foundation laid in the first film or is it beating a dead horse?
While you could watch “The Pact 2” without seeing the first movie, I wouldn’t recommend it. Though the film centers on new characters, it is very much tied into the plot laid out in the first film. Our heroine this time around is a young woman named June (Camilla Luddington) who works as a cleaner specializing in tidying up horrific crime scenes. While working on a particular crime scene cleanup, June begins to have nightmarish visions of the Judas Killer. Shortly after June is visited by a FBI profiler (Patrick Fischler) who believes that she may be the next target of the Judas Killer. Has the madman somehow returned? Or is a copycat killer hiding in the mists?
Much like the first “Pact”, the sequel attempts to blend elements of the supernatural with a serial killer thriller. The core of the film is a straightforward ghost story, but it keeps things lively by also tying it together with a mystery about a serial killer. Having the two storylines keeps the film moving at a decent pace and prevents it from being completely bogged down by the formulaic ghost story. However, the movie really struggles to get off it’s feet in the first act and feels sluggish in the early goings.
To compensate some of these quiet beginnings, they try and inject a few jump scares to keep you on the edge of your seat. However, their placement in the film feels random at times and left me giggling with bewilderment. There’s one in particular which comes in at the very beginning of the movie. There’s no set-up or building of suspense, the music just suddenly gets loud as a character enters the room. There are, unfortunately, one too many of those cheap scare tactics utilized throughout the film.
However, that doesn’t mean “The Pact 2” doesn’t have its moments. I won’t say that I was frightened by anything I saw in it, but there were a handful of scenes that impressed me on a technical level. Things that made me take pause and admire the way certain scenes were being handled. At it’s best, I was reminded of the voyeuristic shots used in “Halloween” that made you feel like you were actually spying on the onscreen victims. There were also a few creative scares sprinkled throughout that gave me some little chills. There are moments of great execution in the film, but they are far and in between. More often than not you’ll be left with quiet moments and cheap jump scares.
What I appreciated most about “The Pact 2” is how it attempted to create a deeply woven narrative with the first film. It would have been easy to create a whole new world for the sequel, but they bridge the gap with the first film by incorporating old characters like previous heroine Annie and psychic Stevie. This time they’re playing supporting characters, but having them return to advance the narrative is a nice touch for fans of the first film.
Ultimately “The Pact 2” tries to do some cool things with its sequel, but the film is weighed down by a predictable plot that struggles to find its footing. For every moment that snagged my interest, there were several more that lost me. I could only recommend this to people who absolutely loved the first film. If you’re a fan of “The Pact” you’ll be drawn to this if only to see what happened to certain characters. If you’re simply looking for a ghost story that isn’t “Paranormal Activity”, “The Pact 2” will be a nice little appetizer that leaves you hungry for something more satisfying.
“The Pact 2” hits theaters this October 10th.