July 9, 2013

Devil's Pass (2013)

"Five young filmmakers retrace the steps of a doomed group of hikers in pursuit of an unsolvable mystery."

Also known as "The Dyatlov Pass Incident" (or "Devil's Ass" in my house), Renny Harlin's latest movie dredges up the faux found footage subgenre yet again and sucks almost as much as all of his other movies (apart from "Die Hard 2" and "Cliffhanger") combined.

Using a famous Russian mystery, "Devil's Pass" is just another "Blair Witch Project" clone which has been bookended with the "based on a true story" gimmick. The real story is far more interesting to read about than watching any part of this movie, and I say that as somebody who doesn't like to read anything if I can possibly help it. At least it gets a decent mention here, but don't expect any answers in this film or from anywhere else.

It's no secret that I hate "found footage" movies anyway so, of course, I'm biased. But even if "Devil's Pass" was universally acclaimed as "the best found footage movie ever made", I'd still be able to point out the errors of its ways. Basically, if a movie looks cheap, doesn't make a whole lot of sense, its characters are irritating, and it's boring to watch, what use is to to anybody? There's no entertainment value in something like this for me.

Fortunately, "Devil's Pass" hasn't been universally acclaimed as anything other than a load of sci-fi crap with lots of shakycams, loud, gung-ho Yanks getting their comeuppance in the Urals, and horrible CGI monsters at the end, so I can loathe it as much as I want. I even watched it twice just to hate it more!

Do not want!

Could characters be more stereotypically WASPish and alienating than the ones in "Devil's Pass"? Call me grumpy, but I think not. I've had it up to here (imagine me reaching above my head) with these overprivileged, studenty idiots in movies, and I really don't want to see any more of them. What part of "If you're a coddled American, please stay home because you'll cry like a baby and die horribly if you go abroad!", don't they ever understand?

The most interesting part for me was the mention of "The Philadelphia Experiment". I don't know what the true story is there (because I don't read), but I love that movie and the sequel. Once all the time-travel and "mutations from radiation" nonsense kicks off, it's time to call it a day with "Devil's Pass" though because you know no good can come of it. Let's face it, no scares or tension are possible with the ending of any found footage movie being a foregone conclusion, so what's to like?

"Devil's Pass" hasn't even been released theatrically in English speaking countries yet, but it's already been leaked to the internet by Russians, so make of that what you will. Personally, I think that they disliked the usual Hollywood Russophobia and the disrespectful way the movie dealt with one of their most financially lucrative mysteries.

My advice? Pass this one by.

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