THE PACT 2 Movie Review
Written by ZigZag
DVD released by IFC Midnight
Written and directed by Dallas Richars Hallam and Patrick Horvath
2014, 96 minutes, Rated R
Movie released on October 10th, 2014
Camilla Luddington as June Abbott
Scott Michael Foster as Daniel Meyer
Caity Lotz as Annie Barlow
Patrick Fischler as Agent Ballard
Nicki Micheaux as Lt. Carver
June Abbott works clean-up at crime scenes by day and is an aspiring illustrator by night. Her police officer boyfriend, Daniel, has put in a referral for her at the latest murder site, a decapitation that resembles the work of the infamous (and recently deceased) “Judas Killer”. Local law enforcement fears a copycat is on the loose and brings in FBI Agent Ballard, who ran point on the previous case. June starts having visions of the maniac responsible for the crimes and his victims, and before long is being haunted by something lurking in the shadows. Agent Ballard informs her that her situation may not be as random as it appears, and she may be more connected to the earlier case than she realizes.
When more people with connections to June begin turning up as murder victims, she becomes more than just a person of interest. While researching the “Judas Killer” on her own, she learns of Annie Barlow, the woman responsible for ending his reign of terror. June tries to contact Annie in hopes of clearing her own name and confirming that the deceased psychopath is nothing more than a bad dream. Soon, the killer is after June directly and she may have more to fear than what mortal men are capable of.
Written and directed by Dallas Richars Hallam and Patrick Horvath, The Pact 2 is a frustrating example of how not to make a sequel. The first film excelled in its simplicity, but here the story is too ambitious. The decent police procedural thread is undercut by trying to shoehorn in supernatural elements of another story. There is nothing wrong with exploring and mixing new ideas, but the filmmakers fail in their ability to keep things focused. The end result feels like this story began as a stand-alone project that was redrafted to fit the mold of Nicholas McCarthy's superior original film, for which no sequel was needed. This mash-up of ideas falls apart when elements from both genres are forced to coexist in the third act and are quickly reduced to an implausible jumble.
Camilla Luddington carries this film as June, the put-upon heroine who sees and hears more than anyone in her position should or likely would. It speaks to her talent as an actress that she keeps June grounded in reality even when facing some goofy ghost activity. Caity Lotz returns as Annie, but retains little of the charm she brought the first time around and seems to be appearing here only to fulfill contractual obligations. Scott Michael Foster does a fine job as June's aloof boyfriend Daniel, but the character spends the majority of the picture unaware of what is going on around his house, a necessity of the story that makes it difficult for the viewer to invest too much in him. Patrick Fischler is pretty awesome as Ballard, a curt individual who doesn't waste time with social niceties. He is a no-nonsense guy whose brusque behavior is a nice touch that keeps him from being totally likeable. Fischler brings an oddity to the role that will keep audiences guessing Ballard's motivations, as everyone in this film is a suspect at some point.
The Pact 2 is an ambitious mess that is a clumsy grab for cash, a sequel no one asked for. The ending leaves the door open for further installments, but the first film never felt like it was aiming to set up a franchise. The “Judas Killer” is not a horror icon, and does not need to be pushed into the limelight as such. I don't want to know his history, I don't care if he was abused as a child and I don't want to waste any more time wondering which reflective surface he'll appear in next.