Directed by Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath
Distributed by IFC Midnight Films
As I settled in to watch director (or should I say directors?) Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath’s The Pact 2, a sequel to the ultra-creepy parent film that freaked out audiences back in 2012, all I could hope to grasp onto was a passable follow-up that would give me jitters like its oh-so-spooky daddy. While a decent framework was set in place for this movie, it seemed to crumble under the weight of a plot line that abandoned the thrills and chills and went straight for the routine finish.
The film takes place just a few short weeks after Annie (Caity Lotz in a cameo-fashioned return) had her violent confrontation with the Judas Killer (Mark Steger in a frightening depiction of a religious kook gone totally awry.) June Abbott (Camilla Luddington) is called to clean up a grisly crime scene involving a suicide – literally scrubbing brain matter off the wall and prying teeth out of drywall is what keeps her going, sufficing a morbid fascination with all things sanguine. Her fiance and police officer Daniel (Scott Michael Foster) is working his tail off so the two can cement a future together, and after an FBI profiler (Patrick Fischler in an oddly interesting portrayal of an anal-retentive government employee) comes to their door to warn June of impending danger the story begins to ramp up. What FBI agent Ballard is referring to is that the Judas Killer could have spawned a copycat and that June’s mother (Amy Pietz) isn’t actually her real mom. You see, her real mom was murdered by Judas a long time ago – mindbender, huh?
After initially refusing to believe Agent Ballard’s claims, far too many ironclad details begin to fall into place, and June no longer can resist the fact that her mother was eradicated by a bible-worshipping lunatic who may be her father (WHAT??). The usual ominous occurrences begin to take place (visions and blackouts are just to name a few) that have June on edge, while Daniel wonders what is left of his love’s sanity. Aside from Caity Lotz recurring her role, we are treated to Haley Hudson returning (albeit briefly) as the cloudy-eyed spiritual medium Stevie, and while their performances are decent, it just didn’t seem as if they were even needed to make the movie come together.
As The Pact 2 sprints toward its home stretch, the whole “demonic” backbone appears to get lost (aside from a few scenes), and we’re now stuck in the middle of a twisting, double-crossing “CSI”-styled production that leaves the horror fans standing at the sacrificial altar without a date. The idea is there, along with the presentation and performances, and it really looks as if we’ll see a heart-pounding resolution to this story, but as fate would have it, the dominos all tumble in such a pattern that you’d have to be blind to not notice that The Pact 7 would almost be a certainty. Let’s just hope that whoever decides to jump in the director’s chair the next time around will be able to return this potential franchise into the horrific scarefest that it rightfully deserves to be.