The Dyatlov Pass Incident Review
Cast : Luke Albright, Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Gemma Atkinson
Director : Renny Harlin
Writer : Vikram Weet
The Dyatlov Pass Incident also inexplicably known as Devil’s Pass, sees Renny ‘Cliffhanger’ Harlin return to snowy mountains with this found footage offering that follows a group of college students who travel to Russia to investigate a real life unexplained mystery from 1959 that left 9 hikers dead.
Harlin follows The Bay director Barry Levinson into the unknown territory of found footage horror but where Levinson undertook the task with a steady handed (excuse the pun), fresh approach, Harlin picks up the kitchen sink, dripping pipes and all and throws it at the found footage genre, clearly in hope that one of the cliches he’s included in this waste of a film will hit home. Nothing sticks and each character introduction and over familiar story beat simply serve to illicit a groan. We have Holly the preppy over enthusiastic girl in charge of the project (doing her best Heather of Blair Witch impression), Jensen the Yeti fancier who believes everything The X Files told him, Denise unashamedly ‘The Boobs’ (remember Renny Harlin is the man who made naked models burst from Freddy Kruger’s chest, but that really is a story for another time) and JP and Andy the ‘expert climbers’ one of whom almost becomes a love interest and one of whom almost becomes a villain (their total under development makes them interchangeable)
When after excessive amounts of the students getting ominously excited about their ‘big trip’ to that remote place where lots of people mysteriously died horribly, we are told that (surprise,surprise) they have all gone missing and we are now about to watch the footage of their final days, its extraordinarily difficult to care, which works perfectly in the end because the film doesn’t even try to engage you in the enfolding story.
The film falls into that terrible terrible Found Footage trap of making you watch actors spend 90 minutes trying to do a convincing impression of a human being, then an impression of a human being interacting with other human beings, then an impression of a human being in peril..you get my meaning. The film muddles it’s way through flat set pieces doing little of interest with it’s surroundings and then finishes up by falling flat on it’s face in a confusing mess.
It’s a real shame how the film turned out, considering that the true case that the students are ‘investigating’ is actually a very intriguing one and something much more frightening and engaging could have been done with that raw material. It’s also a shame to see Renny Harlin who is usually ‘the man with the plan’ when it comes to exciting story lines and action set pieces, fumble around blindly in a genre that he is clearly not comfortable within. Overall The Dyatlov Pass Incident is an unremarkable addition to an already overcrowded genre that should have stayed buried up it’s mountain.
1 out of 5 Stars