September 5, 2013

The Devil's Pass (2013)

In the Winter of 1959, nine ski-hikers (whatever the hell those are) went missing in the Ural Mountains in Russia. They were eventually all found dead, in varied states of decomposition and condition, skin colored orange, with one of them missing their tongue.

The incident has been a hotbed of legend and lore ever since, with everything Paranormal from Aliens to Yeti's being suspected as the cause of the group's demise. Exposure to dangerous weather and radiation are also said to have possibly been factors.

That is all an absolutely true story.

This movie... this sloppy, incoherent, ridiculous movie... is a Blair Witch-style Found Footage flick that attempts to explain what happened to the Dyatlov Group, via the investigation of a bunch of witless College students who have no clue what they're doing.

Hilarity and frustration ensue.

Beware: Here there be spoilers!

When a Psychology major decides that she wants to unravel the 50 year-old mystery behind the disappearance and death of some hikers in Mother Russia, she gathers up some of her College cronies, applies for a grant, and they all head off to the snowy Ural Mountains to do some investigating. On film, of course.

Along the way, all sorts of odd things happen to them; they find a tongue in an ice-box, wake up to find odd footprints surrounding their campsites, they have acid flashbacks, locals start shooting at them, they're attacked by a herd of Ukranian exploding mountain goats... it soon become apparent that these idiot College Hipsters should have stayed home, because they are ill-equipped to deal with the rigors of the Russian Wilderness.

Press on they do however, because "they just have to know what happened here 50 years ago!" From here on out this movie turns into some ramshackle craziness about time travel and Government conspiracy, and involves some oddly-placed mutant-things which look like discarded CGI tests for the creatures in I Am Legend...

Head shaking and frustrating groans ensue.

The scenery and locations were gorgeous. Gemma Atkinson (who is Rowan Atkinson's daughter?!?) is really nice to look at, and... yeah, that's about it as far as anything good is concerned.

The acting is pretty bad; from the horrible line delivery, to the melodramatic emotional displays.That is absolutely the script's fault, in part, because it too is truly awful, but man, that acting... When Gemma Atkinson is the most solid player you have in a film, you know that there's an issue. That's no knock on Gemma, you understand, but I mean she's no Meryl Streep, you know?

Even those dogs look annoyed at their co-stars.
This has to be one of the worst scripts I've seen made into a movie all year. Not only is the story ridiculous and just plain silly, but the way everything is put together is just amateurish and clunky. It's supposed to be a Found Footage flick, but it's more than obvious that the characters in the movie are reading poorly written lines. Nothing feels real or natural about anything in this movie.

All of the overly-familiar and lame Found Footage tropes are present here, and used ad-nauseum; from the handy old FF stand by of "keep filming no matter what, I want there to be a record of this" to the fact that the characters actions play to the camera, even though no one would act in such ways in real life, and in such harrowing situations...

...and exactly how did the footage end up being found anyhow? The whole time travel plot kinda makes that an impossibility, unless I missed something.

-The avalanche scene, in which the characters basically murder one of their friends by leaving them to die in said avalanche, in favor of saving a supply pack, made us laugh. They killed off the best character with that bit, and in such a cheesy way.

-And did this movie really just try to connect The Philadelphia Experiment with the Dyatlov Incident?

-And by the way, Kholat Syakhl doesn't mean "Mountain of the Dead" you shitty, ill-informed writer, it means "Dead Mountain" as in not fruitful.

-There are some mutant-things living underground that look like rough CGI versions of the mutant-things from I Am Legend. That is to say that the CGI looks really bad, and felt really random.

At the point where the one chick started swinging a chain over her head at the oncoming mutant-things, I had to laugh and say "screw it!"

This movie also really smacked of Blair Witch, from start to finish, in its set up and plot structure...
The dialogue in this movie is horrible.
"Come on Ivan, the Cold War is over, we're friends now!"
"Are you telling me you didn't see those charges, or is that a herd of Ukranian exploding mountain goats!"

I could quote this shit pile all day, but most of the bad lines need to be seen in context with their poor delivery to be truly appreciated...

At least this close-up zoom of Gemma Atkinson's rack was satisfying...
I went into his one with the hopeful optimism that its creators would give us an interesting fictional addendum to the real life Dyatlov Pass Incident, but that is not the case. Renny Harlin's direction isn't bad here, but whoever this Vikram Weet guy is, he needs to go back to working on the Kardashian TV Show, and never write a script again.

Aside from some gorgeous location shots, this movie is frustratingly bad and offers little in the way of anything enjoyable...

I advise thee to skip this one, or at least catch it when it hits Cable for free in a few weeks. You know that's where it's headed, after all.

I refuse to believe that this hot-as-the-sun girl came out of Mr. Bean's penis.


  1. Gemma isn't Rowan's daughter, his daughter is younger and called Lily.

  2. I knew it! Thanks for clearing that one up Tina. Cheers :)

  3. I enjoyed the movie! Was a fun time.

  4. I thought it wasn't that bad but agree with most of your post.

  5. I for the most part enjoyed this movie, I thought the acting was OK and for me it was only ruined towards the end with the crappy CGI and the over the top teleportation storyline.

  6. Yeah, I felt this movie wasn't too bad. Entertaining enough. Did have a few potholes, like as you mentioned; how they found the footage if it was teleported with them in the past. Also with the wrong translation for the mountain, I think it was just the film makers taking liberty on it, as it does sound more sinister to call it "the mountain of the dead", rather than "dead mountain". But love your reviews.