Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for some Horror Violence and Bloody Images
Directed by: Gregory Levasseur
Written by: Daniel Meersand & Nick Simon
Starring: Ashley Hinshaw, Denis O’Hare, James Buckley, Daniel Amerman & Amir K
When I saw the trailer for this film in front of AS ABOVE, SO BELOW, I was struck by an instant case of deja vu. Wasn’t I sitting in a theater to watch this movie right now. A found footage horror flick about a group of archeologists who happen to be venturing into an underground place where they don’t belong. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW was severely disappointing due to slow pacing and no effort being put into its creative premise. Having finally gotten around to watching THE PYRAMID (which bombed in December and then took forever to hit home video) though, I can safely say that AS ABOVE, SO BELOW is ever so slightly better than this Egyptian centered horror flick. THE PYRAMID has a few cool ideas behind it, but feels lazy all around.
Miles and Nora Holden are a father-daughter team of archeologists who have stumbled upon the discovery of the century. Beneath the surface of the Egyptian desert lies a three-sided, 600-foot deep pyramid. Doing what any logical person would do, this team of researchers sends a rover with a camera into the pyramid. When something attacks that robot, it could be seen as a good sign to get the hell out of dodge. However, the team of five researchers decide to go into the pyramid after it and wind up trapped underground. It soon becomes apparent that they’re not the only ones in the triangular tomb as they begin being picked off one-by-one by a supernatural something or other. If they don’t make it to the surface in a matter of time, they’ll be facing a fate worse than death.
THE PYRAMID has an appropriately eerie location and you’re convinced that this was shot in an actual pyramid as opposed to a cheap studio set. Props also needs to be given for not simply going into an undead mummy slashing up our hapless victims. Instead, THE PYRAMID actually takes the much more ballsy and creative route of going into Egyptian mythology for its monsters. However, the actual execution of said mythology and monsters is shaky to say the least. There were a couple of really good ideas behind this story, but they’re botched by mediocre writing and tedious pacing. For a movie that runs under 90 minutes, THE PYRAMID sure feels a hell of a lot longer than it actually is. The characters are bland victims and not much more than that. That’s a problem when the movie tries to play up its death scenes as emotionally devastating losses. PYRAMID is a slasher/would-be found footage flick that seems to be suffering from a slight identity crisis.
The reason I say that THE PYRAMID is a would-be handheld horror flick is because this film cannot decide between telling its story in a found footage style or a traditional narrative. As a result, it tries to mix and match both and feels all the sloppier for it. This reminded me of last year’s INTO THE STORM, which was also a jumbled blend of two different narrative styles. Both ways of telling this story don’t help the shoddy looking CGI bringing the barely glimpsed monsters to life. There was a point in this film where a creature appeared to be right out of a Syfy Channel movie and the director seemed to revel in it with lots of close-ups. The biggest sin that THE PYRAMID commits is that it isn’t scary. There are a couple of cheap pop-up moments, but that’s about it. This is a super tame horror flick with only sparse moments of creative bloodshed as well and no suspense whatsoever. I counted two gory moments that showed a brief spark of imagination, but everything else was by-the-numbers.
Add THE PYRAMID to the countless list of terrible found footage horror flicks. What makes this one especially disappointing is that there were creative ideas contained within it, but the script turns them into utter crap. Much like the recent AREA 51 and AS ABOVE, SO BELOW, THE PYRAMID might have been a really cool horror flick in the right hands, but suffers from lazy writing and piss-poor execution. Just stick to 1999’s THE MUMMY if you want the last solid Egypt-centric horror flick. Brendan Fraser playing the role of an action hero is scarier than anything held within the confines of THE PYRAMID.