Devil's Pass (2013)

SYNOPSIS AND BACKGROUND OF DEVIL’S PASS:

“Fact: In February of 1959, nine Russian hikers ventured into a remote area of the Ural Mountains in Russia.  Fact: Two weeks later, all nine were found dead.  What happened to them is a mystery that has baffled investigators and researchers for decades.  It has become known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident.  Rumors have attributed their deaths to everything from alien encounters and government conspiracies to supernatural causes.  To date, no one has been able to adequately explain what drove nine experienced hikers from their tents so frantically that they ripped through the material from the inside; or how their bodies came to be exposed to such dangerous amounts of radiation that it was still detected weeks later.  And no one knows why they were discovered hundreds of yards from their camp, half dressed and with internal injuries including broken ribs and fractured skulls, but with no external wounds at all.  The body of one young woman was even missing her tongue.  

Present Day: Five ambitious American college students are issued a grant to return to the site of the original events in the belief that they can uncover and document the truth of what happened at Dyatlov’s Pass.  But what they find is more shocking than anything they could have imagined.  Their trek through the Ural Mountains, retracing the steps of that ill-fated journey, is plagued by strange and increasingly terrifying phenomena, all of which suggest that in spite of their desolate surroundings, they are not alone.  The forces behind the Dyatlov Pass Incident have been waiting for them.  The students’ recently recovered footage - the only clue to what happened to them - was deemed too disturbing for public eyes.  But, like everything else connected to Dyatlov’s Pass, the truth has found its way out.”

I had the same feeling for Chernobyl Diaries as I did for this movie.  Such an awesome concept!  Who doesn’t want to figure out what happened at Dyatlov’s Pass?? The whole situation is fucked up, the actual events leave you with a creepy feeling and a moment in which you really do wonder if there is more to life than what we see.  However, as I have seen many many times, even if you have a fantastic concept, the execution can be horrible.  To me, this movie totally blew it.  It’s like the directors took the concept, stared at it, and went “how can we totally ruin this entire experience.”  The only positive thing I would give this movie is that it left me with a feeling of eeriness - almost as if there was more to the story (the real factual story) than any of us would ever know.  That shit definitely stays with you.  

I’m used to watching found footage movies and for the most part I like them, I find them entertaining and I don’t have to think too much.  I’ll always be a fan of the first Paranormal Activity movie (and to be quite honest the most recent one as well) but I think it’s time for the horror genre to switch gears.  If you are going to do a movie like Devil’s Pass or Chernobyl Diaries - both that have such a mysterious and creepy back story - you need to do it well.  So lets get down to the nitty gritty of my review here:

Pros

This is really hard for me as there weren’t many pros at all.  I think the only pro I can give this movie is that I was left feeling uncomfortable due to the back story of what happened to these 9 people in Russia.  So for me, this movie wins on atmosphere.  

Cons

Where should I even start??  Acting - horrible… it’s like they weren’t even trying.  Likability of the characters - none.  I didn’t really care what happened to them, especially because they kept making stupid decisions (oh look!  it’s a door in the side of the mountain that is giving us radioactive temperatures!  Lets not tell anyone and then eventually go explore even though we have NO idea what this is - plus I mean we are in Russia… what could go wrong??).  The ending - I…CANT…EVEN.  Not only do I feel like they tried to copy “Quarantine” which is one of my favorite found-footage horror movies (yes I know it’s a US remake of REC) but when they show us the creatures - Lord have mercy.  I felt like I was watching a video game made in 2000 that had slightly above average CGI special effects.  It was just horrible.  Any redeeming qualities this movie could have had was lost at that point.  Lastly, in order for me to actually understand the ending of the movie I had to Wikipedia it (I won’t hate too much about having to do this because I think I lost interest once the CGI monsters came about so I wasn’t paying too much attention).  

With all that said, here is my review of “Devil’s Pass”

Concept/Story: 1/2
Style Effect: 0/2
Atmosphere: 2/2
Scares: 1/2
Rewatchability: 0/2
TOTAL:  4/10

Sorry, Devil’s Pass, I wish you had been more than what you were.