Movie Review – Devil’s Pass (2013)

Devil’s Pass
Directed by Renny Harlin
Courtesy of Aldamisa Entertainment & IFC Midnight
Release Date: December 17, 2013

Devils pass

Director Renny Harlin is responsible for some of my favorite films from the past two decades. Several of these movies were hated by critics, but I personally loved them. Titles in this list include DIE HARD 2, CLIFFHANGER, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, and DEEP BLUE SEA. I’m very happy to include a new title to this list: DEVIL’S PASS. This found-footage horror flick delivers on many levels and will give even the heartiest of horror fans something to enjoy.

If you are not familiar with DEVIL’S PASS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Aldamisa Entertainment website:

Blockbuster Director, Renny Harlin, brings one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the 20th century to the big screen–the controversial Dyatlov Pass Incident.

Fact: In February of 1959, nine Russian hikers ventured into a remote area of the Ural Mountains in Russia.

Fact: Two weeks later, all nine were found dead.

Fact: What happened to them is a mystery that has baffled investigators and researchers for decades. It has become known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident.

Rumors have attributed their deaths to everything from alien encounters and government conspiracies to supernatural causes. To date, no one has been able to adequately explain what drove nine experienced hikers from their tents so frantically that they ripped through the material from the inside; or how their bodies came to be exposed to such dangerous amounts of radiation that it was still detected weeks later. And no one knows why they were discovered hundreds of yards from their camp, half dressed and with internal injuries including broken ribs and fractured skulls, but with no external wounds at all. The body of one young woman was even found missing her tongue.

Present Day: Five ambitious American college students are issued a grant to return to the site of the orignal events in the belief that they can uncover and document the truth of what happened at Dyatlov’s Pass. But what they find is more shocking than anything they could have imagined. Their trek through the Ural Mountains, retracing the steps of that ill-fated journey, is plagued by strange and increasingly terrifying phenomena, all of which suggest that in spite of their desolate surroundings, they are not alone. The forces behind the Dyatlov Pass Incident have been waiting for them.

Many horror fans are tired of the found-footage genre, but I still enjoy it. There are so many things you can do within this subsection of horror…I enjoy seeing the diversity that filmmakers can come up with.

DEVIL’S PASS is shot well, and I have to specifically commend the camera work. Whereas many found-footage films are shaky to the point of annoyance, this film keeps the picture on a pretty steady keel. This makes for a much more enjoyable movie experience, especially in terms of suspense.

And speaking of that, there’s plenty of terror in this little gem. Granted, much of it doesn’t hit until the last third of the film…but that’s perfectly ok here; the build-up is worth the wait. Once things get going on the mountain, they never slow down.

The special effects are minimal but good. I cannot go into much detail because I don’t want to give away the plot. But let’s just say we don’t get to see much, but what we do get is well done.

And speaking of the plot, DEVIL’S PASS will certainly make you think. This flick is a conspiracy theorist’s dream. I would not completely dismiss things like this as out of the realm of possibility at all, especially given what science has been able to accomplish recently. The ending is superb, but I again cannot say anymore…I sure don’t want to spoil it at all!

DEVIL’S PASS is a heck of a film, and I highly recommend giving it a look. It is available now in a variety of formats.


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