The Pact II (2014)


USA. 2014.


Directors/Screenplay – Dallas Hallam & Patrick Horvath, Producer – Ross M. Dinerstein, Photography – Carmen Cabana, Music – Carl Sondrol, Visual Effects Supervisor – Eric Schrecongost, Makeup Effects – Jason Collins & Elvis Jones, Production Design – Helen Harwell. Production Company – Preferred Film & TV


Camilla Luddington (June Abbott), Patrick Fischler (Agent Terrence Ballard), Scott Michael Foster (Daniel Meyer), Caity Lotz (Annie Barlow), Amy Pietz (Maggie Abbott), Nicki Micheaux (Detective Eileen Carver), Haley Hudson (Stevie), Trent Haaga (Pink Room Attendant), Joshua Grote (Snyder), Mark Steger (Judas)


Forensic crime scene cleaner June Abbott is approached by FBI agent Terrence Ballard who investigated the original Judas killings and is now investigating what appears to be a Judas copycat. June is shocked when he reveals to her that the woman she thought was her mother is not and that her birth mother was Jennifer Glick, one of the original Judas victims. At the same time, June is asked to clean up the scene of the latest Judas copycat killing. As she waits at home while her boyfriend Daniel works nights, she believes that something is haunting the house.

The Pact (2012) was a modest and effective ghost story. The film did particularly well when it came to Nicholas McCarthy’s generation of eerie jumps and scares. Obviously enough people appreciated it to produce this sequel. The Pact II has been placed in the hands of Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath who had previously co-directed the horror film Entrance (2012) and subsequently went onto the Jailbreak episode of Southbound (2015). Nicholas McCarthy is present as a producer.

The Pact had a self-contained script and crucially ended with its serial killer being killed. Its story of a serial killer secreted in hidden rooms inside a house was not really one that lent itself to a sequel. I mean, where can you go with it – another serial killer hiding in a different house? What The Pact II gives us is in its decidedly strained script is 1) a copycat of the Janus killer and 2) seemingly the ghost of the original Janus and 3) the lead character who discovers that she is the daughter of one of Janus’s victims. There are times you can almost feel the script creaking as it strains to find a relevant way of stitching this together. What we end up with is a film that is almost laughable in some of the improbable contrivations that it requires of the audience – heroine Camilla Luddington finds that not only is she the daughter of one of Janus’s original victims but is also assigned to work as forensic cleaner at the site of one of the new Janus murders, while her cop boyfriend (Scott Michael Foster) is also initially assigned to guard the crime scene. Into the bargain, the Janus copycat has decided to target her in a very personal way. There is also supposedly the ghost of Janus hovering around her house. Crucially though, this is not a same ghost story as The Pact was and deals with merely the activities of a serial killer, leading you to realise how contrived it is when this starts throwing in creepy figures lurking around the house solely because the first film had them.

Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath generate some reasonable atmosphere at times – scenes with Camilla Luddington seeing shadows on her wall morph into elongated figures, shapes scuttling around in the background and on the periphery of shots. That said, these scenes end up becoming few and far between, which only leaves you to contemplate the absurd complications of the plot. The film reintroduces Caity Lotz who brings a hard-headed determination that lifts the film, only for her to be killed off partway through in an utterly pointless death.

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