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'The Pact 2' doesn't hold much promise

'The Pact 2' doesn't hold much promise
An image from the film "The Pact 2." (Ron Batzdorff)

The 2012 horror film "The Pact" was a crisply made haunted house movie that benefited from its grab-bag approach: scares real and imagined, old-style creeps and trendy gore, eerie silences and noisy shocks.

That movie's survivor, Annie Barlow (Caity Lotz), who discovered she's the niece to the Judas Killer, returns for the more-of-the-same sequel "The Pact 2," but only after we're introduced to a newly terrorized heroine named June (an appealing Camilla Luddington). June is no pushover: She cleans crime scenes and draws violent graphic comics, and she has a protective cop boyfriend (Scott Michael Foster).

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But some freaky murder dreams tied to a recent spate of Judas copycat killings drive June to connect some bloody dots and enlist the investigatory aid of Judas' killer, Annie.

Writer-directors Dallas Hallam and Patrick Horvath, picking up the baton from first film creator Nicholas McCarthy, do a serviceable job aping the original's clean, mostly lo-fi atmospherics and nervy framing (even if every indoor scene in June's Craftsman house appears to be lighted by dusk). The story's a wash, though, with a twist that won't surprise, and Patrick Fischler's role as the creepy FBI agent is too obvious a puzzle piece.

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"The Pact 2"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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