- RatedNC16 /GenreHorror
After ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Tomb Raiders’, movie archaeologists don’t really have a good reputation.
And now, with ‘The Pyramid’, the last horror movie of 2014, that notoriety is not going to go away.
‘True Blood’ alumni Denis O’Hare and Ashley Hinshaw play Holden and Nora, a father-and-daughter archaeology team.
They uncover a pyramid in Egypt, where they are being filmed by Sunni (Christa Nicola) and Fitzi (James Buckley) for a documentary.
Then things in Cairo get hairy, and the team is told to pack up and leave.
Unwilling to give up on their discovery, the team’s robotics expert Zahir (Amir K) sends his US$3 million robot, on loan from space agency Nasa (which apparently has gone into the grave-robbing business in order to make ends meet), to take a look.
Surprise, surprise. The robot is attacked by something and goes offline, and the five members venture into the pyramid to retrieve it. Not very smart.
The pyramid is filled with traps and beings that don’t take too kindly to the intruders, and the group is gradually whittled down one by one.
Directed by Gregory Levasseur, better known for writing the gory French horror flick ‘High Tension’, ‘The Pyramid’ digs up old tropes from other horror movies and does very little original.
It combines found footage with other horror cliches to form a serviceable but forgettable horror film. At times, it bears a similarity to ‘The Descent’, Neil Marshall’s 2005 thriller about a group of cave explorers.
Then there is that feeling of claustrophobia it tries to evoke, as the group makes their way through dark crawl-spaces and closed-off chambers.
They also state the obvious over the course of the movie, with various members of the group saying that they need to get out of the pyramid.
This is not strictly a found footage film, which is a relief, considering all the ridiculous attempts to explain why a group of people trying their best to survive is bothering to keep the cameras rolling.
While exploring newly discovered pyramid, a group of archaeologists encounter an evil spirit. Photo: 20th Century Fox
Over the course of the movie, every possible theory conceived about the pyramids is raised. And when things get slow, in comes a jump-shock for a quick scare.
Yes, jump shocks are cheap, the fallback of a director who is unable to generate a real sense of unease.
O’Hare, brilliant as the vampire king Russell Edgington in ‘True Blood’, has to dumb things down here. Hinshaw is serviceable in her role, though the father-daughter issues raised by the movie are cringeworthy.
Buckley, as a cameraman caught in a spot where he doesn’t want to be, has the best lines, but even they cannot rescue the movie.
There is a nod to one of the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies, and the beasties that lurk within the pyramid are well-animated. Still, that does not quite make ‘The Pyramid’ required viewing.
Levasseur played it safe with his directing debut, but in so doing, he should have just kept ‘The Pyramid’ buried.
‘The Pyramid’ opens 4 December 2014