I don’t really want to get into the argument over the title of this movie so I’m going to refer to it by it’s original title – The Dyatlov Pass Incident ( after all Devil’s Pass sounds pretty shitty when compared to the original choice! ).
I had read many a theory on the actual incident that happened way back in 1959 so this film as near enough a winner for me before I started watching it!
I first saw it ( illegally ) about 4 years ago and it blew my mind…so I sat through it again last night for the purposes of this review…
OK, for those of you that believe this story was scripted in a Hollywood studio, I’d better cover the cold hard facts of the subject first…
The film itself is based on an event that resulted in the deaths of nine hikers in the northern Ural Mountains on the night of February 2, 1959 ( yes, this really did happen! ).
The film however is not set in 1959 – it’s actually a fantasy based on top of what happened on that cold February night ( make sense or am I confusing you? ).
Below is a pretty cool video I ( stole from ) found on YouTube that explains the events of 1959 in more detail:
I just realized that I’ve kinda ruined the plot section now by near enough covering it all in the section above AND including a video!
So I figured I just ‘borrow’ the plot off IMDb and get to the more important bits in the next section:
“The Dyatlov Pass follows a group of American students on a trek to investigate the true life mystery of nine Russian skiers who befell unexplained deaths while skiing in the Russian mountains in 1959. To this day, their deaths have been one of the most bizarre unsolved mysteries of the 20th century.”
In my humble opinion this is one of the best Found Footage efforts out there. Director Renny Harlin and writer Vikram Weet seem to have gone into the film with a ‘anything goes’ attitude that blows the viewer away!
I was fully aware that Renny Harlin was a talented action director before I discovered he was directing this Found Footage effort. He was responsible for huge Hollywood hits like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and Deep Blue Sea ( gotta love those sharks! ).
Harlin has always made a point of making sure he entertained his audience before getting over-technical with his movies. This shows through in style with The Dyatlov Pass Incident.
The movie is a horror based movie but it is also great fun – something you don’t normally relate to Found Footage titles.
The cinematography and camerawork are way above average for a Found Footage film and Harlin has obviously called in a few favors with regards to the CGI effects.
He’s also managed to tackle the ‘shaky cam syndrome’ in style for long periods of the film – although the hectic nature of the climax couldn’t really avoid this problem!
I’ll be honest with you – the film offers very little in the way of real scares or shocks but there’s always plenty going on. It manages to stay interesting in it’s build towards it’s epic climax.
The only downside to the movie was the blonde female character’s voice throughout. At times I felt like I was listening to a chipmunk in reverse and I cursed the fact that she was one of the main characters.
Overall it was great – top director, good writer, decent actors ( excluding that irritating blonde chipmunk ) and Hollywood level filming standards.
If you like Found Footage – you’ll love this! 🙂