Devil’s Pass (AKA The Dyatlov Pass Incident) (2013)

Directed by Renny Harlin. Written by Vikram Weet. Starring Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley and Gemma Atkinson.

Plot: five obnoxiously curious college students retrace the steps of nine real-life hikers who died horribly in the Ural Mountains of Russia back in 1959.

Let me begin by saying that the real story about the hikers who died in the Ural Mountains is horrific and DJ and I would never have gone anywhere near those fucking mountains.  Look it up.  It’s creepy as shit. With that said, this movie took a creepy story and some really great, creepy effects and disappointed the crap out of us. Stupid things were done over and over again, no one was very likable and the payoff made no sense. But let me tell you about the beginning first.

The five students include Holly (Goss) and Jensen (Stokoe), the co-directors and leaders of stupid. There’s also Denise (Atkinson), the audio engineer and Andy (Hawley) and J.P. (Albright), expert climbers who are teaching everyone else. The movie lets you know right away that the five of them have disappeared and all Russian authorities found was footage of their trip. And the footage is so frightening that the government tries to cover it up, but hackers get ahold of it all and they release it to the world.

The group tries to contact the only person who survived the 1959 expedition, but he’s not well. From the hospital window though, he (like everyone else) warns them to stay away from the Dyatlov Pass. They don’t listen, of course, and set out. On the mountain, they see strange footprints in the snow, hear howling and they even find a human tongue. After that last discovery, Denise wants to leave, but she’s talked into staying by the others. Stupid girl.

Not only is the character of Holly pathetically dumb, the actress is almost unwatchable.  We wanted her to die first, but she’s the star so no such luck. Holly has dreams about Dyatlov Pass and has for some time. They’re strange fucking dreams, too, but she insists they suggest only good things about their journey. DJ and I felt they suggested that they all pack up their shit and get off those mountains, but hey, who are we?

And now that I am clearly on a roll, let me just spoil it for you so that you don’t have to watch it unless you’re a masochist.

******SPOILER ALERT******

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Holly and Jensen, the leaders of stupid as I’ve already explained, are alone together when they find a bunker. After prying the door open, they return to the others and do not tell them about what they found. The next morning, during an avalanche, Denise is killed and Andy is injured. Terrifying Russian soldiers show up, finish Andy off and chase the other three to the bunker where J.P. is shot. Holly and Jensen leave the wounded J.P. at the entrance while they look around. They discover evidence of human experiments, dead bodies and a camcorder identical to theirs. Then, they hear J.P. screaming and rush back.

The mutant creatures that kill J.P. are the best part of the movie. Holly and Jensen figure them to be insane and they run from them. Clearly, these things are not well, but why do they assume they’re insane? Insane people know to attack strangers without attacking each other? I feel like that would be a “no”. But whatever. In the next room, Holly and Jensen see a wormhole and make assumptions about that, too. They figure that instead of starving to death or facing the mutants, they can simply visualize where they want to be, step into the wormhole and they’ll be there.

Of course, that’s not what happens because that doesn’t make any sense. The ending as a whole doesn’t make sense. Or at least not in any way that we liked. It tried to explain where the mutants came from and why they were pissed off, but it was ridiculous. Teleportation, time travel and government coverups? C’mon! Honestly, I wanted it to be aliens. Almost the whole movie I was hoping it would be aliens. That would have been more reasonable to me.

But it wasn’t aliens. And it thoroughly disappointed us. DJ says that not only did this movie shit the bed, but it rolled around in it, too. I’m sure it won’t be a surprise when I say that I hated it. And DJ didn’t think too much of it either.

My score: 17. DJ’s score: 22.

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