The Pact

The Pact

Casper Van Dien as Creet and Caity Lotz as Annie in Nicholas McCarthy's THE PACT. Photo by Bridger Nielson. An IFC Midnight release.

The Pact

Executive Producer:
Photography Director:
Production Designer:
Costume Designer:
Associate Producer:
Stills Photographer:
  • Kelly Brown
Production Company:

* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.

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The Pact (2012)

Opened: 07/06/2012 Limited

IFC Center07/06/2012 - 07/12/20127 days
NoHo 707/13/2012 - 07/19/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Rated: R for for some strong bloody violence and language.


After her mother passes away, Annie is persuaded to return home and pay final respects. Sleeping in her childhood bedroom, something ominous and unfamiliar in the house rattles the tough-as-nails heroine. Enlisting the aid of a local cop and a clairvoyant to investigate, Annie soon finds these mysterious disturbances only serve as a catalyst to bring forth long-repressed nightmares that reveal a disturbing secret about her family's history.

THE PACT mixes genre elements to breathe new life into the classic haunted house genre. With an assured hand, director Nicholas McCarthy tactfully cranks up the tension and carefully peels away each twist to build toward a blood-tingling finale.

Q & A with Nicholas McCarthy

What inspired you to write THE PACT?

With THE PACT short film I wanted to tell a ghost story that was as effective as the ghost stories that people tell you in real life, the ones that you believe are real. The set up for the short was like many stories I had been told -- someone sells you the idea that there is a ghost, then lays out evidence where everything is implied -- a feeling of cold air, a door seemingly come open by itself. And somehow you're terrified.

After making the short and realizing it worked with audiences, the feature was a chance to turn the ideas in the short into a full-on movie.

What was it like working with Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien?

Caity Lotz came in to read and just dominated the room. I knew before she had spoken one sentence that she was our lead. Caity comes from a dance background and she's both physically and mentally strong. It was perfect for this role of an emotionally armored girl who gets in some really harrowing physical scrapes in the movie. We had her up on wires one day, throwing her to the ground again and again. I'd call "cut!" and she'd just stand up and be like "what else you got?"

Casper was a blast to work with. The guy just loves to make movies and he's totally committed to his choices. Him and Caity worked hard on their scenes together and really made something special with the material.

What was it like transferring the story from short to feature?

The short is more of a character study, which uses a suspenseful and ghostly atmosphere. It's kind of like a little art film b-side to the PACT feature, which is a full-blown terrifying ghost story.

The short wasn't originally made as a teaser or a trailer for a larger film, but it did come from some ideas I had been thinking about that might work well inside a feature. So after the short premiered at Sundance and I met with some people who expressed interest in making a feature version, I felt confident I could write a full-length script that I could get excited about.

The essential difference between the two is that the short is all about not seeing things -- it ends with you never knowing what is beyond this scary door we keep making reference to -- while the feature is about seeing more and more, with the movie becoming scarier and scarier the more we discover.

What is it you love about scary movies & the art of scaring people?

I've always felt that you can't say you love movies and not love classic horror films, because they are all about doing the things that movies do best -- manipulating the image and sound to hold the audience in a very specific place. The first time we screened an early cut of THE PACT feature to a group of people, we had screams. It's pretty satisfying to have your work as a storyteller get an audible reaction like that.

What was your favorite scene to shoot?

There's a scene in the movie between Caity and Kathleen Rose Perkins, which is one of the few straight dialogue scenes in the movie. After dealing with people on wires, creepy rooms, etc., it was just so refreshing to spend half a day working with two actors just talking (!).

What kind of special effects did you use?

We decided early on to make almost all the special effects "practical" in the film, meaning done the old fashioned way and not with a computer. Me and my DP Bridger Nielson wanted to be able to look through the lens and see as close as we could to what we would see in the finished film. That meant that when people appear on the ceiling in this movie -- they were actually on the damned ceiling. It was intense for the actors and all of us on the crew to pull off things like that.

What do you plan to do next?

To take a week off!

The PACT short film premiered in January 2011 (after having just been finished a week before), and I wrote the script for the feature immediately after. We began casting a couple of months later, and were in production six weeks after that. The feature was finished less than a year from finishing the short.

Cast and Crew Biographies

Nicholas McCarthy (Writer/Director)

Writer and director Nicholas McCarthy's films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, the CineVegas Film Festival, ScreamFest, the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, and many others.

Nick has had the distinction of having three of his shorts play at Sundance: in 2005, 2009 and 2011. His short film "The Pact" was adapted into a feature film in 2011 and premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, one year from the premiere of his short.

He has been a professional screenwriter since 2007.

Caity Lotz (Annie)

Caity is best known for her role as ' Officer Kirsten Landry' on MTV's "Death Valley".Caity currently stars in The Pact, which was a breakout film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theaters July 6th. Caity also stars in Screen gems upcoming dance film Battle of The Year opposite Josh Holloway ("Lost"). Her indie film Live At The Foxes Den with Jackson Rathbone ("Twilight") will be out this year as well.

ON the small screen, Caity is often recognized for her recurring role as 'Stephanie' on AMC's "Mad Men."

A native of San Diego, California, Lotz excelled in the arts from a young age, exploring studio art, photography, dance, and drama, ultimately forming an irreplaceable love of performance art. Dancing from the age of seven, Lotz appeared as a dancer for Lady Gaga, toured with Avril Lavigne, and was a member of "Soccx," a musical pop group with two top-selling singles in Germany. Showcasing her individuality through free-style and break dancing, Lotz has mesmerized audiences, raising the bar with her unique acquired skills -- tricking and parkour. Tricking, a form of performance martial arts, and parkour, an expression of acrobatic moves like leaping from walls, gound rolls, and precision jumping, are becoming increasingly popular in the US, specifically in the entertainment industry. In recent years, tricking and parkour have received much wider publicity and popularity due to various stints in film and television.

Caity currently resides in Los Angeles.

Casper Van Dien (Creek)

Casper grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey on Van Dien Avenue (Named after his great great grandfather). When he and his family moved to Florida he enrolled into the military school Admiral Farragut Academy where he graduated 3rd in command. Later he attended Florida State University. He then moved to LA to pursue an acting career where he found success in film and television.

His breakthrough role was as the lead in Paul Verhoven's masterpiece STARSHIP TROOPERS, one of the most talked about films of 1998 which still has a huge cult following. He was also in Tim Burton's critically acclaimed film SLEEPY HOLLOW, which is based on the classic Washington Irving story of Icahbod Crane (Johnny Depp) and the headless horseman (Christopher Walken). Casper starred as Brom von Brunt, a suitor of Katrina van Tassel (Christina Ricci). In real life, the Van Dien's are cousins to the Van Tassel family. Casper then became the 25th actor to portray Tarzan in the Warner Brothers film TARZAN AND THE LOST CITY. Other film credits include BIG SPENDER with Graham Green, JAMES DEAN: LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG with Robert Mitchum and the surprise hit THE OMEGA CODE, with his wife Catherine Oxenberg.

Casper was recently seen in the thriller, SHIVER opposite Danielle Harris and LAKE EFFECTS opposite Madeline Zima and Jane Seymour.

Casper also recently wrapped filming the lead role in the FUNNY OR DIE TV show parody of a sexy, sci-fi horror spin-off" of a faux 80s TV Show. Casper is one of the executive producers on the animated film STARSHIP TROOPERS: INVASION. He is currently shooting the movie FUGITIVE AT 17 in Ottawa playing a handsome, college music professor with a dark past.

Haley Hudson (Stevie)

Actress Haley Hudson has been cast in a variety of offbeat roles thanks to her unique look and genuine talent.

Hudson has a recurring role on Showtime's "Look", a TV series that studies the secret lives of seemingly ordinary people when they think no one is watching them. She has also been seen in a variety of television shows, including "Weeds", "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and "Ghost Whisperer" and films such as MARLEY & ME and KILLER BY NATURE opposite Ron Perlman.

Hudson originally auditioned for the role of Maddie in FREAKY FRIDAY. The role went to another actress, but the producers and director were so impressed with Haley that they created a role specifically for her.

As well as being a professional actress, Hudson also enjoys music, dancing, and visual art.

Agnes Bruckner (Nicole)

At age 15, Agnes Bruckner landed her first lead role in the independent film Blue Car, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for "Best Female Lead." Bruckner has since gone on to appear in the films Murder by Numbers, Haven, Dreamland, Peaceful Warrior, Blood and Chocolate and Kill Theory. Her additional television credits include Private Practice, Dirty Sexy Money, Alias, Hawaii 5.0, and Craigslist Killer. Agnes recently completed: The Baytown Disco, Breaking the Girl, The Citizen and The Pact. Bruckner lives in Los Angeles.

Ross Dinerstein (Producer)

Ross M. Dinerstein founded Preferred Content, a film, television and digital production, finance and distribution advisory company in November 2009.

Dinerstein recently produced THE DIVIDE directed by Xavier Gens, (HITMAN,) which starred Milo Ventimiglia, Lauren German, and Michael Biehn premiered at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival and sold to Anchor Bay for the highest acquisition price in the history of the festival. The film will be released theatrically in January 2012. Dinerstein recently executive produced THE DAY directed by Douglas Aarniokoski and starring Shawn Ashmore, Dominic Monaghan, and Ashley Bell that premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was acquired by WWE studios. The film will be released theatrically in mid-2012.

Dinerstein's most recent film, THE PACT, will be premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and stars newcomer Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien. THE PACT is the feature adaptation of the director's short film that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. From 2004 to 2009, Dinerstein produced or executive produced and arranged production financing for nine films across a variety of genres that starred actors such as Forest Whitaker, Jessica Biel, Woody Harrelson, Ray Romano, Ray Liotta, Laurence Fishburne, Antonio Banderas, and Greg Kinnear including THE KILLING ROOM directed by Jonathan Liebesman and THE GRAND directed by Zak Penn.

Dinerstein began his career in 2001 working in the Acquisitions Department at Miramax Films, where he worked closely with Andrew Herwitz, Head of Acquisitions. In January 2002, he left Miramax with Mr. Herwitz to form The Film Sales Company, an independent film sales agency. Dinerstein left The Film Sales Company upon being accepted to USC's Peter Stark Producing Program in 2003.

Dinerstein has a Master's Degree in Motion Picture Producing from the USC School of Cinema and Television's Peter Stark Producing Program and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Film Studies from Vanderbilt University.

He was born and raised in Houston, TX and currently resides in Venice, CA with his wife Liz and baby girl Lucy Jane.

Jamie Carmichael (Executive Producer)

Jamie Carmichael, President of Content, Film Division - Content Media Corporation plc. Jamie is a seasoned veteran of the global film market; after two years traveling, five years in production, Jamie spent two years at Guy East's Majestic Film and Television International, two years at Jean Cazes' Lumiere Pictures, then seven years at Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon Entertainment International. Jamie lives in Los Angeles.

Bridger Nielson (Director of Photography)

Bridger began his career in still photography, becoming one of the leading US sports photographers in the late 90's. He garnered editorial and advertising clients such as Men's Journal, New York Magazine, Patagonia, and Oakley. At 19, he was one of the youngest photographers ever to shoot a cover for Powder magazine.

At the height of his career in photography, Bridger turned his attention to filmmaking, which led him to the USC School of Cinematic Arts. After receiving his degree in film, he began shooting music videos and commercials with world-renowned directors for such clients as Apple, Wal-Mart, Sony, Adidas, Burger King, Gap, NFL Network, Reebok, ESPN NASCAR, American Express, and many others.

Bridger has shot multiple television pilots and four feature films, with Splinter winning rave reviews for the visual style and Bridger's work specifically.