After being absent for a longer-than-intended period of time, I am probably going to find it hard to get back into the swing of things for a bit. Hopefully, you will bear with me. My boyfriend and I have recently been watching a slew of horror movies, both old and new. Of course, you know me, the horror buff, and yet there were still tons of movies out there I haven’t seen. I wanted to change it, and so did Tim. I haven’t actually watched a lot of new (to me) films in a long time, as I found that most of them end up belonging in the suckage department, but recently I was pleasantly surprised.
At our local Family Video, I noticed a creepy-looking cover staring at me in the Nearly New department, belonging to a 2013 film called Devil’s Pass (also known as The Dyatlov Pass Incident). As a frequent viewer, and disapointee of found-footage films, I was reluctant, but I went with my gut and decided to give it a go. Perhaps it was the mystery of the unknown that has always intrigued me, or the fact that it is centered around a true story (always a plus for me), or the fact that it was 2 in the morning that made the viewing such a wonderful experience, but I totally and thoroughly dug this movie.
The story is focused on a group of five students, determined to discover the secret behind the real-life Dyatlov Pass Incident of 1959. In the late 1950s, nine friends and skiers decided to go on a journey into the Ural Mountains, and none of them returned. What followed has been over fifty years of speculation, controversy, and overall creepiness. Their bodies were found after their families became worried about their lack of correspondence. Several of the individuals had fractured skulls and ribs, one woman’s tongue had been removed, and their campsite looked as if they had fled in utter terror in the middle of the night, even leaving behind their shoes, and most of their clothes, in 30-below-zero temperatures. What did they encounter? What did they see? The focus of Devil’s Pass attempts to answer these questions in a clever, almost-damn-near-believable way. Though at times obviously cliche and predictable, it is most certainly unique, and one I intend to own. Directed by one of my faves, Renny Harlin, of ANOES 4: The Dream Master and Deep Blue Sea fame, the film includes all virtually unknown actors to add to its believability, and several incidences of shrieking, whining, and in-fighting, which, although bordering on annoying, is actually advantageous to its credibility as a so-called “found footage” film.
The crew encounter several early unsettling incidents, including the discovery of massive footprints outside their tents in the morning, and a severed tongue in an abandoned outpost, causing massive concern, and near panic. The most important discovery, that of a large bunker, hidden in the snow, leads to the answer that the group had been seeking – that no one should ever have discovered. With huge plot twists, fast camera work, creepy creatures, and a very sci-fi and jaw-dropping ending that will have you talking, or at least thinking about it far beyond the rolling of the credits, this film has not been given its due credit. The internet goobers (yes, like us, ha!) have mixed reviews, several finding it intriguing and satisfying, and the others hating its semi-far-fetched conclusion. I absolutely will not give away spoilers this time around, but will highly recommend you checking it out for yourself! If this weren’t based around the real-life mystery, the ending would be laughable. But, I urge you to consider the strange state of this world we live in, and the fact that we still do not know everything. With a tantalizing backstory to get you hooked, part creature-feature, and part trigger for those terrified of the wilderness, avalanches, and being at the mercy of the unknown, this movie has it all. Well, most of it, but it comes highly recommended, and may require two viewings.
Here are a few of the real-life victims of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Mountain climbing in Russia, anyone? Didn’t think so. ;)