In the end, like a lot of genre movies, this one pulls from different inspirations, and so weighs in, by turns, as overly predictable and satisfyingly recognizable (part of genre cinema's one-two punch).
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
There's no pact in The Pact, which is indicative of this faux spooky tale's guiding illogicality.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
In truth, there's nothing here we haven't seen before. But McCarthy, who also wrote the straightforward script, keeps the pace moving and the atmosphere eerie (if rarely terrifying).
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
A tightly controlled low-budget chiller whose occasional moments of unexpected special effects are set up beautifully by long periods of suspense.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Basic, efficient little horror item scares up a few little shocks, possibly enough for a modest commercial career.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
The explanations for what has been going on are weird, fantastical and sort of reasonable, within the context of the story, maintaining the film's sense of grounded directness up to the very end.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
Manages to deliver a decent combination of supernatural and practical horrors.
Nicholas McCarthy admirably tries to deliver both a terrifying tale of horror while mixing in more gritty elements, but doesn't explain much as to why.
Matt Donato - We Got This Covered
Quite easily, one of the scariest films I've seen in a long while... It's a corker.
Witney Seibold - CraveOnline
The film has some cheap thrills ... but lacks more sustained tension.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Debut director Nicholas McCarthy possesses a good grasp of effective, tension-building technique in this psychologically rooted chiller, in which dark, repressed memories of a turbulent childhood bubble to the surface.
Brent Simon - Shockya.com
A satisfying ghost story without leaning too hard into trends. It's not a deliciously overwhelming feature, but The Pact has modest vision worth a look.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
McCarthy is clearly an economical director and what he gets on screen here - while hardly new - is still effective and occasionally creepy.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
The best thing The Pact has going for it is the way it manages to play its cards right, despite the fact that it doesn't have many aces up its sleeve.
David Guzman - Film Journal International
More horror movies set in the 21st century ought to integrate technology into their scares as well as Nicholas McCarthy's The Pact.
Noel Murray - AV Club
When The Pact descends, finally, from suggestion to explication, the scares regrettably slink away.
Calum Marsh - Slant Magazine
[VIDEO ESSAY] "The Pact" is a horror movie with training wheels. It's for audiences who have never seen one before and don't want to be too scared.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
At times scream-out-loud scary, with a second half that can't maintain the momentum.
Rosie Fletcher - SFX Magazine
To those brave enough to stomach the horrors of the Saw series, The Pact will seem tame.
Brigit Grant - Daily Express
The film cleverly exploits aspects of everyone's childhood.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Expanding a successful short, first-time feature, director Nicholas McCarthy displays more savvy than inspiration: there's some technical ingenuity to the jumps, but not a lot of logic.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
While it retreads well-trodden horror paths and shies away from any originality, it does favour heightening the mystery over goriness, relying on some impressive visuals ...
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
McCarthy has a talent to unsettle - still not entirely developed.
A stylish and well-acted if disappointingly rote paranormal gumshoe story.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
The female leads are uniformly characterless, as if Central Bimbo Casting has been told, "Keep sending in the next interchangeable blonde."
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Despite having an effective but shockingly-predictable computer-chat scene, The Pact didn't raise a single hair on the back of my neck.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
The Pact feels like exactly what it is: interesting material warped to fit the wrong format.
Sophie Monks Kaufman - Little White Lies
A fiend-ish puzzler less likely to give you scares before bed than leave you scratching your head.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
This haunted house movie achieves a frightening intensity with limited means, but also feels under-characterised and overstretched.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
While The Pact hardly forges new ground for the genre, it comes about its scares honestly, without reliance upon gimmicks or cheap tactics.
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
It works hard, and the first half hour is textbook creepy, but the oldschool grab-bag of shocks struggles to jolt a dour script to life.
Paul M. Bradshaw - Total Film
The Pact is a good one for a late night, home alone.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
It's a promising, efficient debut for McCarthy, but any kind of originality isn't part of the deal.
Eddie Harrison - The List