The Dyatlov Pass Incident /Devil’s Pass (2013)

Director: Renny Harlin
Starring. Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley, Gemma Atkinson. UK/Russia. 1h 40m.

Based loosely on real events this poorly conceived horror manages to derail all the original horrific accounts from the plot to invent a new less frightening one. The original story revolves around a small group of young experienced hikers who went missing, the mystery was sparked when their charred, radioactive and broken remains were found in the deep snow miles from their camp site. The theories of what happened ranger from a Yeti attack, government black ops, and the more common UFO scandals but really no one really knows the truth. But now we have another theory that seems a little different from the rest, but neglects to really pin point the events and instead conjures up some new ideas with another set of hikers making what seems to be all the same mistakes.

The film begins with a Russian newsflash reporting that the students have gone missing but their footage has been uncovered but they refuse  to release it to the public, until some hackers get the files and publish online, and therefore we have the perfectly cut movie, it’s an interesting way to introduce found footage but so sloppy..

Filmed by the Oregon student filmmakers themselves, this found footage style movie starts off with them outlining the events from 1959 Then attempting to go into the region and interview the last few eyewitnesses, and uncover the truth, eventually they hit a wall, and it appears that an elaborate cover up witnesses are being silenced and eventually the team are pushed towards the site where the encounter strange events giant footprints in the snow, their navigation equipment is constantly going nuts along with all the team members, eventually they stumble on a secret base and things get even more bizarre.

It’s hard to know if this was supposed to be a comedy or creepy, the two blend together in the terrible over acting from most of the cast. There is a glorious backstory to this, something that is still quite chilling and this crafts an imaginative story around this, making it a watchable horror, but only just suspense to get you to the end but it’s dismal, which for most makes Blair Witch (1999) quite accountable for this mishap existing.

Finnish director/producer/screenwriter has a lot of fairly successful films under his belt, and his adoration of the cooler climate is evident in Die Hard 2 (1990) , Cliffhanger,(1993) the Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), but here Harlin appears to be a little out of his depths, most of his films are action based thrillers, but give him the key to the unknown and he’s gone mad trying to play out every possibility.

It seems a terrible waste of a story that could write itself, and nothing of any interest, just some mindless Blair Witch running around in the snow with lots of special effects, a touch of thrills but no real terror. Maybe the earlier films were flukes or the subject and director just didn’t gel?



Rating 3/10

R – Blair Witch (1999)
L – Based on a true story, Bigfoot, UFO
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