Directed by: Renny Harlin
Cast: Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright
For the sake of precious time I’ll really truncate the factual events in which the pic is loosely based. Back in 1959 a handful of experienced hikers turned up dead in all sorts of strange conditions. Their death was a mystery but the mountains, specifically Dyatlov Pass – named after one of the original hikers to lose his life on the mountain. The case is still an unsolved mystery that ignites plenty of conspiracy theories and investigations, and, enter our movie.
That’s the background, and that’s the setup.
The rest is as about as far out as you might expect. However, it isn’t always extremely rational, or even plausible for that matter. But I liken that to a frantic state of mind. You’re terrified, you’re trying to stay alive and you’re bouncing ideas off one another. I can buy into that. I can look beyond the sometimes uninspired camera work (there are a few moments that feel as though the filmmaker forget this was a found footage film entirely). Those kinds of problems prevent a film from yanking down an extremely high score, but it doesn’t mean that haven’t done a hell of a job all the same.
The acting is pretty believable, as is the rapid descent into madness. Some of the gags we get pulled on us feel a little safe, but it may have been better safe than sorry. Anything mis-measured here and things could have gone wrong in a hurry, and as it is, I liked the group’s chemistry and I think there were a few memorable little moments. No need to tarnish that by being bold in the wrong moments.
That’s a little more wisdom from Renny Harlin.
I’ve been pretty positive about this film, and I do want a few things to be known before I wrap this review. I Don’t think Devil’s Pass is a classic in the making, and there are more than a single flaw to be found and pointed to. But the movie was ultimately well-paced and generally entertaining, so the cons are being brushed aside, to an extent, to make way for the pros. Every now and then it’s nice to just go easy on a flick.
As for the finale, it’s absolutely bonkers. This isn’t a rapid fire, done in three seconds finale. We get a little more than that and I appreciate that. I rode the ride until the end, and director Renny Harlin gave me a climax I can feel satisfied with. I won’t leap to label it terrifying, but Harlin does eventually pull that cover back for all to be seen. And all is pretty damn solid.