The Pact and Dark Space are currently available on instant Netflix.
The Pact (2012) – Rated R
“Feeling obligated to return home for the funeral of the mother she despised, Annie soon senses an evil presence in her childhood home.”
Another month, another direct-to-DVD genre offering with Casper van Dien to give it a little bit of name recognition. That was what I thought when I started this one. I was very happy to be pleasantly surprised.
Casper van Dien actually puts in a real performance here and does not appear to be just showing up for the paycheck. Having said that, his part is not very large. The film has to be carried by its singular star, Caity Lotz.
Caity Lotz plays Annie. Since appearing here, she has found some fame as Sara Lance aka Black Canary on Arrow. She does a nice job conveying sorrow, horror, fear, and confusion.
Director Nicholas McCarthy adapts his own script here and it is quite a doozy. It starts off very quickly, no slow build-up here. The story is quite well done with a nice third act twist to the proceedings. He also has a great sense of pacing and doles out the information and shocks in appropriate measures.
In spite of this being McCarthy’s first feature film, his direction is pretty assured. He favors some decent tracking shots in the house. Special effects are kept to a minimum but work fine.
Apparently, The Pact did well enough to spawn a sequel, the obviously named The Pact II. The Pact II is written and directed by Patrick Horvath and Dallas Richard Hallam who appear to have no connection with the original film.
I am not a big fan of the haunted house subgenre but The Pact is quite good and I highly recommend it.
Dark Space (2013) – Not Rated
“When their shuttle is damaged on the way to Centari Five, six friends crash-land on an alien planet, where it soon becomes clear they’re not alone.”
“I say do it. What’s the worst that could happen?” – obviously shortly before disaster strikes
Okay it didn’t start with “The Asylum Presents” so that is a good start. The effects are somewhat cheesy but again not as bad as Asylum. They’re actually quite good for what I assume is a micro-budget movie.
This is Emmett Callinan’s feature film debut as writer and director. He also serves as editor. The story is serviceable but pretty silly. Right after the ship crashlands and one person breaks a leg, four of the others go for help (in spite of having no idea what planet they are on or if there is civilization). The first thing they do is go skinny-dipping in unknown waters. Huh?
Acting is just okay though everyone seems to be giving it their all. The often too obvious dialogue works against them. No one seems to take their situation seriously. I understand they were all drinking and doing drugs before things went kablooey but surely in the intervening hours someone would have sobered up.
Dark Space is a passable waste of time but there are so many better science fiction movies out there on Netflix (Galaxy Quest, Star Trek Into Darkness, .Existenz, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Metropolis, etc.)