Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Grégory Levasseur
Cast: Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare
Early reviews of The Pyramid painted an ugly picture. If you take the word of critics as gospel you’ve likely already declared the film an outright disaster that should never have been conceived of, let alone made. Well, the truth is yes, it is bad. But it has a few strengths working for it, and it could have easily been significantly worse than it actually was.
Without wasting too much energy I’ll jot down a very loose outline of the story. A small group of archaeologists uncover a long buried pyramid with a unique technical structure. It could be older than just about any pyramid on the planet, and this group is eager to traipse about and claim the greatest find of the century. But after sending a rover in to get a look at things, the situation gets hairy. Said rover is attacked by what looks to be a dog (cameras on the machine reveal this), and given the hefty price tag on the machine ($3 million – on loan from the wizards at NASA), the group has little choice but to head inside and try to recover the robot. Once inside everything goes to Hell in a hand basket. Floors crumble, our protagonists find themselves lost, injured and soon thereafter, being stalked by strange creatures that could be dogs, but certainly appear to be more of the feline variety. But those little nasties are just one minor threat compared to the big bad beast lurking deeper within the pyramid. Will anyone live to see daylight again, or will the hulking monstrosity turn them into corpses before a safe exit is located?
Here’s what’s wrong with the film: The script. It’s just poorly written, plain and simple. There are so many improbabilities to be contemplated that it becomes impossible to get behind any one specific person or any one specific decision or idea, because no one thinks logically and no one makes logical calls. It’s just really, really difficult getting behind anyone in the flick and that falls on the shoulders of screenwriters Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon, who seem to have forgotten that the audience of 2015 isn’t ignorant. These gents forgot that we’re actually paying attention, and lazy plot points, underwhelming dialogue and facepalm decision making isn’t going to sate the appetite of the intelligent, attentive horror fan.
Here’s what’s right with the film: The big bad monster. It’s all CGI’d out, no denying that, but it’s also a surprising reveal. I didn’t look into the picture too much after it hit limited theaters. I’m a big mummy movie fan, and glancing at the trailers I was convinced that’s exactly what I was in store for. I wanted to be surprised and I was all in for a new mummy flick, no two ways about it. But technically (this is kind of a mummy movie), I was wrong about the whole mummy angle. However, when the focal villain is finally revealed, I actually found it quite satisfying. I’m not out to spoil what little awesomeness the movie has to offer, but I’ll say this, the monster in question will ring familiar, but it’s not a creature that has been put on screen in excess. In fact, off the top of my head I can’t think of many – if any – films to truly feature this particular baddie. That decision to be daring and break the mold in regards to the antagonist certainly earns big points.
The acting is decent, and the cinematography (which often feels reminiscent of Chernobyl Diaries, a feature I enjoyed quite a bit) is interesting enough to hold the attention. The story gets off to a strong start before falling to pieces and – again – the monster is awfully interesting. The flick does have some strengths to showcase, unfortunately the writing just brings all the promise to an unmistakable and quite premature halt. The Pyramid really, really falls apart beyond the 15-minute mark, hitting a wall that absolutely kills all detectable promise and momentum established early. It’s too bad really, because had this one been tightened up before filming began we could have been treated to a damn decent little flick.