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Old 18th December 2013, 01:41 PM
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The Dyatlov Pass Incident (2013)

I was hoping for something special from Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin, a genius to me due to the sheer quality of that Stallone snow bound action epic. Sure enough the setup is fine. A group of American college students (And Gemma Atkinson), all highly experienced climbers, go to the Russian Urals to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a team of Russian hikers at the now infamous Dyatlov Pass. Based on a true event in 1959, where Investigators at the time determined that the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot into heavy snow and a temperature of −30 C (−22 F). Although the corpses showed no signs of struggle, two victims had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue.

So far so good. The set up is neatly done in a way where the viewer actually associates with the group. Squabbling teens are not invited here thankfully. The group meet locals in Russia who warn them not to travel which although seems a cliche, a director such as Harlin invokes a great amout of tension to this build up and the slow climb up the barren pass. Harlin creates a fantastic backdrop to events, utilizing the snowy landscapes brilliantly in a way which made me think i was watching Hammer's classic The Abominable Snowmen, the atmosphere was so good.

Alas upon the hour mark it all goes pear shaped. The group discover a door in the ice and the final third becomes oh so predictable. Somehow a great concept manages to turn into a run of the mill, ho hum, seen it all before, shaky cam, creatures on the loose in an abandoned military base movie. Although well done i was expecting something with a bit more thought to it other than a few nods to the USS Eldridge and The Philadelphia Experiment. The quotes on the cover mention The Blair Witch Project and i would have loved the film to take that sort of unexplained route where the viewer has to come up with their own feelings as to what they have just seen.

On the whole worth watching, but like me you may end up disappointed.
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