History Always Repeats Itself.
Starring: Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley, Gemma Atkinson
Director: Renny Harlin
2013 | 100 Minutes | Rated R
“It’s like something dropped out of the sky, walked around in barefoot while we were sleeping and then took off again.” – Holly King
I’ve been on a bit of a horror kick of late. This kick has led me to yet another found footage horror movie in Devil’s Pass.
Five students set out to film a documentary retracing the steps of a group of hikers who famously perished in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1959. Soon trouble besets the group and all their preparations can’t help them against what they will discover.
As with any and every found footage film, Devil’s Pass starts off very light-hearted. Jokes are thrown around, drinks are had and the guys are hitting on the girls. It’s got to start cheery before it gets dark.
Following the found footage formula, hints at the impending danger start. Unexplained footprints. The cameras start wigging out. The GPS quits. All the usual hallmarks of the genre.
And then the shit really hits the fan. An avalanche and some dudes shooting at them and the remaining members of the gang find themselves trapped in an underground labyrinth of tunnels. I hate to ruin the endings to movies, even bad ones, so I won’t go any further. What I hope you are seeing, though, is that Devil’s Pass is a paint by numbers found footage film. You may not see exactly what it is coming at you but you know the severity of it and exactly when it’s coming. What it is that is actually going on is decently interesting but the movie as a whole still feels like something we have seen many times before.
Just like every other found footage movie, shaky cam and extended shots of darkness are commonplace. The other benchmarks – unsatisfying endings and unanswered questions – are also present.
I will say that the production values are generally very high. The acting and direction is on point. The Russian towns look like legit Russian towns. The icy mountains are beautiful. And the caverns… they are creepy as hell.
The CGI is pretty shoddy, though, due to what I presume is a pretty limited budget but I don’t think budget can be used as an excuse for bad CGI anymore. I’ve seen better CGI work on short films and fan created junk than I’m seeing on some of these DTV horror and action movies.
As a self professed fan of the found footage genre, I even found Devil’s Pass unnecessary. It’s not a horrible movie. Aside from the story, it just doesn’t bring a single new thought or idea to the genre.