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Film Review: Devil’s Pass (2013)



A group of student filmmakers from the U.S. set off to Russia to unravel the mystery of several missing mountain climbers over fifty years prior.


Directed By: Renny Harlin Starring: Gemma Atkinson, Matt Stokoe, Richard Reid, Holly Goss, Luke Albright Upon the opening credits Dyatlov Pass possesses all of the crucial components of a spine tingling chiller. The viewer is susceptible to a borage of grisly images of decayed corpses frozen in time and despair from the in fated 1959 incident. The archived photos accentuate a certain sense of authenticity. We as the audience immediately invest into the plot with a subconscious desire to unfold how this tragedy had transpired.

Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-5 Holly Goss plays Holly King, an aspiring filmmaker hell bent on solving the mystery of the disappearing hikers while producing a compelling documentary simultaneously. She spares no expense or succumbs to no obstacle as she charters several experts to assist her along her tireless journey. Fans with a flavour for tales based upon actual events will undoubtedly be lured into the fray, making this film stake its claim in a niche market. Director Renny Harlin whom you may be familiar with through productions such as Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea and Twelve Rounds does a brilliant job of conveying a story under the guise of a student documentary. A good portion of the film is shot in first person point of view, which is to state a great deal of interaction takes place directly with the camera. Thankfully we’re spared of all the shaky, nauseating effects that had made ‘found footage’ movies such as Blair Witch Project and Quarantine such phenomenon. We don’t deny the façade of the amateur prowess when shooting the production which breathes a life unto its own of suspended believability. Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-6 A delicate blend of Russian dialect, culture and folklore is combined with western curiosity, determination and a hint of odious complex delivering a most thought provoking conflict escalation. Some of the cinematography along the journey is captivating and places the audience directly into the bitter unforgiving tundra of Ural Mountains. The actual mountain is called Kholat Syakhl which directly translates unto Dead Mountain or lack of game not Mountain of The Dead as commonly misinterpreted. Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-3 Creative dialogue is utilized to enhance a lapse in conflict escalation. We take a break from the dread and unease upon our nerves and the proverbial guard is let down. Some laughable moments ensue including the ‘trail hook-up’ scene. While it lowers our angst the unrelenting, pulse pounding terror resumes keeping us on the edge of our seats. Some dissention illustrated between the characters is presented sadly with a little convolution. While the expert hikers argue with the producers of the Indy project over foot prints in the snow it comes across as a little contrived and many viewers will likely scoff over the fallacy. The spectacle tarnishes a pretty decent plot development and will lose points among many. Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-7 As the death toll begins its inevitable chime, a certain sense of surreal unnerving unfolds. The crew’s casual acceptance of tragedy is creep within its own right. Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-2 Although the creatures or mutants introduction is innovative, the CGI techniques are a little distracting and somewhat hinder rather than polish the end result. It comes across as a 1960’s Sci-Fi special effect mash up and could have been illustrated with more contemporary grandiose for a current audience. Dyatlov_pass_incident-2013-movie-film-1 The conclusion may disappoint some but at least Dyatlov Pass is not the cookie cutter finale that Hollywood is ordinarily fixated upon. Overall a very imaginative screen play with points in originality with some technical flaws along the way but worth the journey in its own right. -Three out of five tombstones Dyatlov Pass Incident (2013)

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  1. I Truley Love This movie. But, i wanna know if this movie is really based on a true story? I know the Dyatlov incendint is true. Please answer my queshtion, Is devils pass based on a true story?

    • I’m not entirely sure Lilly. I’ve done some research on the Dyatlov Pass incident as well and it comes up rather vague and inconclusive. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

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