Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In short: The Pyramid (2014)

Archaeologist daughter/father team Nora (Ashley Hinshaw) and Holden (Denis O’Hare) have chosen a rather bad year for their dig in Egypt, what with it being 2013, and things being rather dangerous in the country right now. At least they are successful, though, discovering a buried pyramid that’s older (and somewhat differently shaped than) the other pyramids of the country.
Instead of going in, the scientists have their own little Mars Rover to explore the pyramid, but a short chain of unfortunate events does of course still lead our heroine, dad, tech guy and love interest Zahir (Amir K), and the obligatory TV documentary crew (Christa Nicola and James Buckley) inside of the pyramid.

In a completely surprising turn of events, the group quickly find themselves lost, beleaguered by cat monsters, traps, and the horrible (and a bit lame) CGI secret of this specific pyramid.

The Pyramid is one of those semi-POV horror films that mostly consist of the usual fake footage but can’t bring itself to completely buy into its own set-up, so there are ten to twenty percent of the film shot by the usual invisible camera man. Not many of these shots seem actually necessary but then, it is difficult to stay inside the POV style and stay visually interesting at the same time. Of course, The Pyramid still isn’t all that interesting to look at, so I don’t really know what’s the point.

Which, come to think of it, is a question one could raise about the rest of the film too. While there’s clear competence on display from the sides of script, actors, and direction, there’s really not much going on here that’s bound to produce emotions or thoughts in an audience. The film contains its share of competently filmed scenes of people running through the dark, some of said people shouting at each other, a smidgen of gore, and a bit of rejigged Egyptian mythology, but it never rises above these very basics of horror. I was particularly disappointed with what the film does with Egyptian mythology (very little), and particularly that the only thing it finds to do with an actual god buried by its own people because he was a bit too cruel for them is to turn it into a SyFy Channel style CGI monster that does little of interest, and whose connection to actual mythological trappings is tenuous, suggesting a tragic lack of imagination in the filmmakers.

There’s just so little actual content here (emotional, intellectual, or just atmospheric) The Pyramid ends up being empty and without a personality, a generic horror film that wastes all opportunities it has thanks to a complete lack of ambition, and that’s just not good enough at being a generic horror film to be effective in that regard.

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