Synopsis – An archaeological team attempts to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an insidious creature.
My Take – I think almost every time I write about a horror movie, I mention this – I love found footage films! No matter how bad the creativity behind the film making of the genre has become! Frankly I am not a huge horror movie fan, unlike most people I don’t watch the film merely for the ‘scares’, but fact the only thing which attracts me to the whole genre including found footage films is innovation. Alexandre Aja, the man behind the Hills Have Eyes and Piranha remakes, as well as High Tension, and Mirrors returns, is one who is attached to innovation despite the familiar but required shock value & gore. Despite the wide criticism behind this film, I think it should be regarded for what it does well, as a horror movie, rather than what it does poorly as a movie in general. The first thing I have to say about this movie is probably the most relevant to attract fellow horror-movie-lovers; it is scary. This is a semi found footage film that is sure to remind of a film that came out last year, As above so below! Yes it is nowhere as spectacular as that movie, but it still works! The story follows father & daughter archaeologists Holden (Denis O’Hare) & Nora (Ashley Hinshaw) who make the discovery of the century, a three sided pyramid in Egypt.
Now, as everyone knows, pyramids have always been four sided. The only problem is that Denis just picked the wrong time for his little excavation party because there are violent riots going on in Cairo and Denis and his team are told that they have to leave the country within 24 hours. In order to retrieve their NASA loaned rover from inside the pyramid, the archaeologists decide go in for just a peak, within their 24 hour deadline. Of course, once inside the pyramid, it is not long before they discover that they are not alone and in fact they start getting picked off, one by one by the current residents of the pyramid. The rest of the archaeological team includes Sunni (Christa Nicola), a journalist that is documenting the new discovery and her cameraman, Fitzie (James Buckley). Ever since High Tension, Aja has always had a knack for bringing on intensity and atmosphere in his horror films, even if they didn’t end up being that great as a whole. While the film does feature several formulaic aspects, they work out well here. Once events begin to really begin, so does the intensity. There are many instances where the characters find themselves roaming in the dark and you anticipate something to jump out, as well as just situations that leave the viewer tense. Despite being only half found-footage, the two are blended together very well, making the atmosphere and intensity even stronger. As for the story itself, it was pretty engaging, it was enjoyable to have the mysteries of the pyramid unleashed the further they got into the structure (which tends to happen right?), it leads to a final act that left me thinking different theories of how it’s going to possibly end as opposed to just one no-brainer ending. The acting by the cast pretty well-done, as was the character development. Ashley Hinshaw who plays the lead does well with the role when it comes to showing fear and expressing the emotional moments. Denis O’Hare was likeable.
The actor who stood out most to me was James Buckley, mainly due to the humor he provided in the film and is the one who basically speaks for the audience in certain situations. For the most part, the characters are all likable except Christa Nicola, who is just so annoying you can’t wait for her to die. Other than that character, everyone is fairly likable. Yes! The unrealistic CGI made their movement awkward and at the end of the day they just weren’t convincing, horror creatures. The main monster, however, was awesome. It was a twisted, mummy version of the Egyptian god Anubis and his terrifying appearance wasn’t the only thing to elicit involuntary shrieks from the audience; his wrathful agenda of ripping out people’s hearts and weighing them to determine whether or not their soul is pure drives the character home nicely. It is a perfect blend of ancient Egyptian lore and sheer lethality that makes the character work on many different levels. In general, I’d say that ‘The Pyramid’ was an entertaining horror movie and definitely worth the watch. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from ‘The Descent’, it’s that tight spaces make for good claustrophobic horror. That seems to be the idea behind ‘The Pyramid’, & it works well! If you like “B” type horror movies, you might enjoy this one.
Director – Grégory Levasseur
Rated – R
Run Time – 89 minutes