Certain acclaimed horror films from recent years (and most of the others, less fortunate ones who go with the tide), supposedly character-driven, turn every ellipsis into a jump to the next plot-point, annoying scream or old and tired scary effect, while suppressing anything that could happen to people who, you know, do not live inside a movie, according to the necessities of the writer. This is the exact opposite.
Not that it manages to avoid old and tired scary effects, and if we are looking only at the screenplay, this is just another example of the genre with a thin narrative and little character development (whatever that means), but what makes all the difference though, is that filmmakers Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath, like anyone who actually cares about genre films, remember they are never about the story, about the design on the page, the important (schematic) actions, but the gaps between them. If most directors today rush through the character moments to get to the scares as a way to compensate for their bloated narratives, The Pact 2 goes the opposite direction and rushes through the scares themselves, and although some of these scenes are quite good, they are not the most important aspect here.
It got my attention because it’s rare today to watch a movie of its kind interested in finding tension in the way two bodies relate spatially, in brief words that say little by themselves but are handled with impressive control of tone and tempo (with one exception, the performances are very good), even more apparent because a lot of the dialogue comes from the necessity of explaining the limited plot while the directors refuse to focus on the facts, the informations we are given are more subjective, also predominant are calm situations, silence, slow movements, long shots with resolute photography that turns shadows, colors and highlighted details into narration, instead of the ridiculous current mania of overtly post-processed images decorating flat compositions, which are happy showing only the most basic elements with deformed saturation and contrast, combined with nonsensical fast cutting, unbearable noise in the soundtracks and presenting characters in a way that makes you celebrate their deaths.
I must say I did not expect much and was very surprised, specially because I have not seen the original and watched it at random, knowing nothing about it, and just confirmed that the formula to find good horror is to look only at stuff that got bad reviews and ended up with a cheap video release, at best, the most beautiful ones I have seen in a long time (Jean Rollin’s Le Masque de la Méduse, Tobe Hooper’s Djinn) didn’t even get a distribution.