Thursday, July 24, 2014

Take a pass on the movie "Devil's Pass"

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I broke a rule that I had made for myself tonight.  Never watch a movie that your dad picked up for a buck at a yard sale.  I suppose there is an off chance that my father could have inadvertently picked up a copy of "Time Bandits" and at least I could have enjoyed some nostalgia of my youth.

But, as my luck usually turns out, my dad picked up a copy of "Devil's Pass" instead.  I have to admit, the cover was intriguing.  "Based on a true story" is across the bottom, and I am always up for learning something new.  I had never heard of the Dyatlov Pass Incident in which 9 hikers died under mysterious circumstances in 1959.  There was a picture on monster on the cover - so I figured the movie was going to use that incident and then go into some Yeti theory of the deaths.

Well, saying this movie is based on a true story is like me saying that I had a beer with Babe Ruth.  Babe Ruth (from what I read on wikipedia) was a real person - so I can say anything after that and say it was based on a true story.  I really, really, really try to stay positive in my reviews - because I know that someone put their heart and soul into the effort.  Well, maybe just time and no heart and soul into this venture, because I don't see how anyone could have this "vision" of this movie and convince others to actually follow through with it and create a film.  Astonishing.

I am going to venture from my policy of trying to be positive, mainly because I feel like I was deceived by the "true story" aspect and can not get the time back that I invested in sitting through the entire movie just to write this review.

Instead of talking about the nine hikers that died (which is a true event), the film goes all Blair Witch Project on the unwitting audience to follow 5 college yuppies who decide to travel to the Ural Mountains to try and determine what happened to the hikers on some super extra credit project.  Seriously, I can't suspend my belief here - kids in college are trying to dig through couches to get enough change for a 40 oz beer and bag of Dorito's.  Oh, these kids won a grant to go on this trip - my bad.  They were obviously better grant writers than hikers, because they were seen wearing very little for a place that was -22 degrees Fahrenheit when the original 9 hikers died.

So, through the lens of a shaky camera, the audience is taken on the trip from their point of view.  I am going to cut to the chase on the plot.  The five students climb the mountain, and after a avalanche (which may not have been started by natural causes) one of their members goes missing and another suffers a horrible broken leg.  They spend exactly zero effort trying to locate the missing hiker, and after setting the broken leg, find enough emotion to remark on the lack of cell phone reception one of the hikers has even though they were told that their plan would have the coverage.  I wish I were making that up.  I guess he was taken in by misrepresentation as well - hard to feel sorry for you, dude.

During the night, two of the campers find a door in the middle of the mountain, but the lock is on the outside which means that the metal door was meant to hold something inside.  The door is open - and big footprints start to appear mysteriously with a starting point that looks like the creature was dropped out of the sky and disappeared with the path ending abruptly.

Add in a couple of Russian soldiers shooting at them, running into the door for protection and getting shut in, the Philadelphia Experiment, UFO theories, wormholes, and creatures that look like the Russian Youtube monster in the woods and insert your own ending.  The most unbelievable part - that the freaking camera battery never dies and subjects us to watching the filming.  

Guys, if you have an urge to film everything - even when monsters are chasing you into a room with a wormhole and you let a woman do the dirty work of fighting off the monsters so you can keep filming - I would like to offer this bit of advice.  JUST STOP IT!  PUT THE CAMERA DOWN! You will never get a prom date by sitting back filming girls kick monsters butts with only "chain whips" as weapons.  I know - I tried - didn't work (based on a true story).

One last note - don't panic and think the tube on your TV went bad, there is about 20 minutes of pitch black with audio only throughout the movie.  Now that I think of it, the scariest thing about the DVD was thinking "Ah crap!  I just bought this TV!"

"There is enough potatoes here to choke a donkey," is the one line that sticks out in my mind.  Other than that, there was enough poor dialogue to choke a reviewer. 

I need to quit writing and find enough change for beer and Dorito's now.

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