June Abbott (True Blood‘s Camilla Luddington) is a crime scene cleaner (and budding illustrator) who finds herself plagued with visions of a serial killer. After cleaning the crime scene of a brutal murder done on the style of dead mass-murderer The Judas Killer, June starts to have visions of him stalking her.
She tries to share her concerns with her straight-arrow cop boyfriend (Scott Michael Foster) while a second murder to someone close to her leads the FBI, led by Judas Killer expert Agent Ballard (veteran character actor Patrick Fischler), to take a close interest in her activities.
June must turn to the woman who shot the Judas Killer for help as she becomes increasingly confused as to what is reality and what is imagination.
2012’s The Pact was an effective indie horror that blended the investigative stylings of a crime thriller with the supernatural overtones of a classic ghost film. It’s main strength was excellent control of tension and chills, with a long slow burn ending in some excellent scares. The sequel, however, struggles.
The film seems mostly concerned with plodding through its plot. Scares are chucked in every few minutes, but after an early strong one around a shadow moving by itself, they become very rote and familiar. Honestly, is the “closing bathroom cabinet mirror” sequence the single most over-wrought scare set-up in modern horror?
The early set-up is decent, but as things become pedestrian a sense of seen-it-all-before settles in. The lack of actual tension drains what little interest remains, despite some excellent cinematography and an effective score. Luddington’s central performance is weak, which serves to undercut the early goodwill even further.
The connections with the original film make this almost as much a copycat as the killer. The supernatural overtones this time are just lobbed in and rarely make much sense nor add anything. In the end, this is a disappointing follow-up to an underseen minor gem of a horror movie.
The extra on board here is a 17-minute behind-the-scenes piece that is a little lightweight, but quite entertaining. The focus is on the film’s dual directors, but there is plenty of footage of shooting and explanations on a lot of decisions – including how the script was heavily modified quite late on when the availability of one actor was suddenly freed up more than expected.
It is an above-average “making of” that is worth a look – probably more so than the actual movie.
Available on Blu-ray.