- by Jeff Beck
The Pyramid: Just Another Lazy and Unoriginal Found Footage Flick (Blu-ray)
In the great tradition of movies featuring a group of sub-intelligent humans going where they clearly shouldn’t comes “The Pyramid,” which tells the story of an archaeologist (Denis O’Hare) and his daughter (Ashley Hinshaw), who have helped discover an ancient pyramid several miles away from those at Giza. Joining them is a documentarian (James Buckley), a reporter (Christa Nicola), and the handler of their robotic exploration device (Amir K). With large protests happening back in Cairo, the Egyptian government suspends the dig. Even so, the group decides to proceed by sending in their robot (“Shorty”) to have a look around inside.
Shortly after it enters, it is destroyed by an unknown assailment, which of course leads to the group entering the pyramid themselves to find out what happened. They soon find themselves lost, forcing them to navigate through deadly traps, while also trying to avoid cat-like creatures that are clearly not friendly. However, there is something else that is also hunting them, a much larger creature that has lurked in the pyramid for thousands of years waiting for this moment.
“The Pyramid” being nothing original is something that hardly needs to be said, but it is somewhat original in the new extreme level of laziness that has been attained with its production. At the end of these 80-ish minutes, it takes an extra minute or two to take in just how little thought went into each and every aspect of its making. The screenplay, which could have been scrawled on a napkin by a six-year-old kid, was shockingly written by two grown men in their 30s and 40s, respectively, while the direction from Gregory Levasseur (writer of the decent thriller “P2”) is beyond amateurish, resulting in a mess of a film that is nearly unwatchable throughout the group’s wanderings through the darkness of the pyramid. Meanwhile, the less said about the acting, the better.
Taking a closer look at the plot, we find nothing but half-hearted attempts at scaring the audience by having something pop up out of the darkness over and over again. If this is the viewer’s first horror film, it may work, but otherwise, it will just cause a lot of eye-rolling. Couple this with a multitude of plotholes and other repetitive actions and that mere eye-rolling turns into outright frustration and annoyance towards filmmakers that are clearly not trying very hard, but rather are trying to get by with the bare-minimum of story and production values (including a lack of lighting and some of the worst CGI ever put to screen).
When all is said and done, you’ll merely be asking yourself how it ever got released, for it comes off as a failed first attempt from a student filmmaker, something unfinished that was never meant to be seen by anyone outside the cast and crew. Whatever the intention was behind “The Pyramid” (more than likely an attempt to make a quick buck, just like most “found footage” films), it clearly failed, and is best left buried in the sand for the next several thousand years so that others need not suffer to look upon it.
It’s rather difficult to judge the 2.35:1, 1080p High Definition transfer for the Blu-ray debut of “The Pyramid.” For the first 20 minutes of the film, it’s a decent picture, allowing you to see everything with a pretty sharp image. However, for the remaining hour, it’s so hard to see much of anything that’s going on that it becomes a rather futile effort to comment on it. On the flip side, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is fantastic, allowing you to hear every tiresome jump scare that the film throws at you, along with all of the rote dialogue. Overall, from the treatment the film has received, all that can really be said is that at least you won’t have trouble hearing anything.
Extended Ending: An additional minute of footage that adds nothing to the film. Easily skippable.
Fear, Space Archeology, Egyptian Myth, and Partners: “Fear” is merely a short promotional featurette that uses the old and desperate tactic of showing audiences acting scared while watching the film, while the other three concentrate on very brief and uninformative interviews with the cast and crew. All four of these are easily skippable as well.
“The Pyramid” is nothing but a tiresome, lazy, unoriginal, and downright badly made “found footage” horror film that spends far more time concentrating on its cheap, repetitive scares than it does actually developing a story and characters that would make us care about any of it in the least. At this point I’ve obviously already made up my list of the worst films of 2014, and as a rule, I never go back and make amendments. However, if I did, I think this would have to dethrone “Tusk” from the top spot, and that should tell you all you need to know.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic and be sure to subscribe for the latest updates.