Some horror films make their point by being endurance tests. How much gore, how much depravity, how much screaming can you take as a viewer? This is the question posed by many movies. The Pact is more of a classic ghost tale, albeit with a murderous twist. Scares are built up to and then unleashed in a seat-leaving jolt of fear. It’s a classic technique that requires a lot of carefully cultivated atmosphere to work.
Here are some of the classics
Carrie’s hand bursts from the grave
Setting a horror blueprint for the final pre-credit scare, this vaseline on the lens sequence of fever-dreaming is an idyllic scene showing a guilty friend tending a tragic grave… Until Carrie’s already rotting hands thrust from the dirt to grab the unfortunate girl, who wakes screaming from her nightmare with her sanity on the brink.
The body in the hull
As Richard Dreyfuss dives to investigate a recently submerged wreck, he’s looking for evidence of a shark attack. A handily embedded tooth, lodged in the boat provides a clue. A clue that is quickly fumbled into the depths when a mangled, chewed and bloated corpse floats into frame and the auditorium loses its popcorn en masse.
Point and scream
After surviving the pod people outbreak in the Me-generation, therapy obsessed 70s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a lone women is seen wandering, cleverly hiding among the replaced by showing no emotion of any kind. Until she sees her friend – played by Donald Sutherland. She greets him warmly… He raised a pointed finger and unleashes a scream from the depths of hell.
The boy in the lake
Stalk and slash scholars will quickly inform you that it’s not Jason doing the killings in the first of the endless Friday the 13th franchise… It’s Mrs. Voorhees that’s offing the kids. But for this movies final girl, the standard package of surviving character guilt, relief and mental instability isn’t happening. Because something supernatural is lurking in the lake. The living, drowned corpse of Jason is here to make an appearance at the very end as he suddenly arrives to drag the lucky one who made it for the last reel to a watery death.
The dead girl in the TV
Finally, do you remember when you first saw The Ring? Already unnerved by the PR hype about a cursed video… A video you were now inserting into the VCR, nothing really prepares you for the stripped down, lo-fi jolt when the long haired, bedraggled, double-jointed ghost crawls menacingly out of the television.