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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Devil's Pass (DVD)

I had the chance to enjoy Devil's Pass on VOD. Truth is that in watching it a second time, it's somewhat forgettable. Mainly because I forgot that even watched it even though I was tremendously excited by Renny Harlin's involvement. So I gave it a second watch and then whole thing doesn't quite stand up to a more intensely scrutinized viewing. Still, aside form the obvious found footage generica, it does take a twist and a turn into some rather unique places, and just might break the duldrum of Blair Witch in an _______ motif. 

Synopsis from IFC Films:

The film follows five American college students as they explore the infamous Dyatlov’s Pass in hopes of uncovering the mystery of nine Russian hikers who made the same trek in 1959 – only to be found dead two weeks later.

The real life mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Incident has baffled investigators and researchers for decades, and rumors have attributed their strange deaths to everything from alien encounters to government conspiracies. Check out the brand new trailer to join a new generation of explorers as they make their way through the infamous Ural Mountains and uncover secrets more shocking than they could have ever imagined.



The first half of the movie is a fairly standard found footage movie, and I was put off. Why is IFC putting out a generic found footage picture. Group of young students goes into the wild to find X. X being anything you might be afraid of if it's trying to get or eat you. Group of young students find X. Group of young students try to escape X. Group of young students either live or die, but X is still out there. That's the formula. About half of Devil's Pass is formula found footage, until you can't tell what's going on. Once your confused, the movie can toy with your emotions and perception of reality. In other words, I believe Renny Harlin made the first half of the movie as one giant set up to make you feel like you were watching a fairly standard found footage feature only to twist it on its end for the second act. It works. 

I'm not saying that Harlin has reinvented the wheel. The concepts portrayed in Devil's Pass are not wholly unique, but they are executed well. The mythology behind the need to venture into the wild combined with the realization of what that some might be carries the movie, engages the audience and ultimately creates a claustrophobic freak out with fast paced action. I think the last movie that got me that good was Grave Encounters. Before that The Descent. That's good company to be in. 

Wanna read up on the Dyaltov Pass Incident that inspired the movie? Go check it out here

You can pick up Devil's Pass NOW!

Dr. TERROR

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