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The Pyramid – 6

Director – Grégory Levasseur

Cast – Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare, Christa Nicola, Amir K, Faycal Attougui

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

When As Above, So Below debuted a few months ago I was beyond excited for a storyline that involved a film crew traveling deep within the mass underground grave referred to as the Catacombs. The effort had its positives, namely atmosphere and sets, but ultimately it failed to deliver on the interesting, downright haunting, setting. Then I saw a trailer for The Pyramid and thought the same thing – awesome storyline that sends the crew into a creepy setting. Because this comes produced by French maestro Alejandre Aja and directed by his longtime writer Gregory Levasseur I had hopes that this would fare better than As Above, So Below…and it did. The biggest difference between the two is The Pyramid actually has a payoff while the former leaves you hanging. This effort has its faults and is a basic, run-of-the-mill found footage flick, but the payoff and scares associated with its unique antagonist made this a worthwhile watch for me.

Tall tales have been told of curses placed on the explorers who enter ancient Egyptian pyramids uninvited by the mummified royalty they were meant to protect. When a team of US explorers discovers a long-lost three-sided pyramid they defy orders to vacate the area prematurely and ultimately become loss in the dark, endless underground enigma. Searching for a way out, they soon realize they are not simply trapped – a beast long thought to only be a myth is hunting them.

The intro sucks you in by setting us up for the discovery of a lifetime. Never before has a three-sided pyramid been uncovered, and the crew is showcasing the immense satellite technology used to discover it. Nora, following in the footsteps of her renowned explorer father, teams up with her father, boyfriend, and a documentary film crew to trek into the pyramid before a government-imposed order to vacate the premises goes into effect. Early events lead us to believe that there is a sinister presence lurking within the shadows, but we soon learn that this antagonist is not the force that the crew should be afraid of. Around the halfway point of the film the crew is running for their lives as they one-by-one fall victim to brutally gory deaths. I was pretty surprised at how much horror was written into the film, especially because this was full-frontal horror. Typically, with found footage films you get a lot of off-screen action that leaves us wondering what is going on, and ultimately annoyed if there is no payoff. That is not the case with The Pyramid, and I applaud writers Nick Simon and Daniel Meersand for their inclusion of solid horror. I will say that the majority of the scares are jump scares, but hey, I jumped for once – twice actually.

Gregory Levasseur’s direction is pretty good for his debut effort. What sucks you in to this film is its location, which is might just be the first in the genre to feature a pyramid without a mummy. Anyway, the sets used are incredible and were built for the flick as such a three-sided pyramid does not exist in the real world (yet). The atmosphere is perfect, with dark shadows at every corner and a heavy sense of ever-present dread. Levasseur’s execution of the horror is great, starting off minimal but building up to at least one of the best jump scares I have experienced. As a whole the horror is cheap, but that is far from a bad thing. The horror we saw in 80s slasher films is “cheap”, it is good execution that makes the kills/horror worthwhile. This execution is not without its flaws, it delivers on the atmosphere and gore, which are two elements that are very important to me.

Overall, The Pyramid is an effort that I mostly enjoyed. I did go in with low expectations thanks to doing the opposite with As Above, So Below, so if anything I would recommend that you do the same if you give this a watch. It is not a film I would recommend to everyone, but if you want an atmospheric flick with a fair payoff then this may be worth your time.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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