Found footage films have flooded the market to the extent that they have worn out their welcome to most, but clearly are still doing well enough to keep getting made. The most popular is the horror genre that has found numerous ways to bring this format to life. The latest Devil’s Pass comes from director Renny Harlin and uses an actual true story with a horror spin to try something different, but does it work?
Devil’s Pass follows a University of Oregon student who is awarded with her research about the fate of nine Russian hikers known as The Dyatlov Pass Incident that mysteriously died in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1959. She decides to make a movie following the steps of Dyatlov alongside a filmmaker; audio technician; and experienced guides as they travel to Russia expecting to find the truth about the unsolved mystery; but they find death instead. For most of the film it plays fairly generic and somewhat slow. At times it is hard to really get into as there doesn’t seem to be much happening, but as it moves forward things start picking up. The found footage aspect works fine here giving it a feel similar to The Descent, but would have worked just as well in standard form. The first half may not offer much other than a lot of build-up, but the second half makes up for it with some fun creatures lurking through the dark to deliver some jump moments and keeping their visuals distorted to make for a fun use of the found footage. There are some supernatural elements that are used that seem a bit silly and the effects aren’t all that great, but once you see the purpose actually kind of makes up for it.
The performances are all fine here and thankfully didn’t use name actors giving it a more realistic tone for the finished film. This will be one of those that will be met with mixed feelings, but it does sport a pretty cool twist ending that fans will either get and love it or hate it. Either way if you are a fan of this genre of horror give it a shot and decide for yourself.