The Pyramid (2014)
★ / ★★★★
Two hundred fifty miles south of Cairo, Egypt, a pyramid has been discovered with the help of satellite technology. According to father-daughter archeologists (Denis O’Hare, Ashley Hinshaw), this pyramid is particularly special because, unlike those found in Gaza, this one has only three sides. An interviewer (Christa Nicola) and her cameraman (James Buckley) are most excited to capture and share one of the greatest findings of the century. Although the archeologists and their crew were advised not to enter the pyramid in order to alleviate the riots happening in Cairo for the time being, this discovery is too good to pass up. Horrors—would-be horrors—await inside.
Written by Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon, “The Pyramid” is a cripplingly disappointing experience because it has a lot of elements going for it: a good premise involving human nature that is curiosity, a creepy location, and the history of ancient Egypt. Instead, we are given a sub-standard horror flick full of idiotic characters who are ruefully unprepared, devoid of charm or intrigue, and unable to suppress noises when silence is most critical. Clearly they are lambs for slaughter and so one has to wonder about the point the filmmakers are hoping to achieve.
It lacks a defined sense of perspective. It is annoying that some shots are seen through the lens of the cameraman and other times through the lens of a remote controlled robot. There are also moments when the images are not seen through any of the characters’ perspectives. This decision exhibits a lack of control. More importantly, it communicates a lack of thought process. I had the impression that the filmmakers did not care at all about making a quality movie, just one that could potentially make money, to cash in on the found footage sub-genre. I hated just about every second of this third-rate would-be horror picture.
They wished to make a scary movie but it does not understand the value of silence or keeping still. Because of this, scenes in which the characters are required to squeeze their way through tight spaces command no tension, suspense, or thrill—even if they are being chased by cat-like creatures that have been living inside the pyramid for thousands of years. Director Grégory Levasseur allows the material to go on autopilot and so sitting through his work, which is less than ninety minutes, feels closer to two hours.
In order to make the experience “haunting,” modern screenwriters today rely on the idea that no one must survive or that it is implied everyone dies by the end of the movie. This is laziness and there is no going around it. Here, because the exposition, rising action, and climax are so weak, it is fair to assume that the writers simply do not have any idea how to give their story an ending that feels exactly right. “Everyone is dead and so the movie is over.” Clearly, these people who consider themselves to be filmmakers do not have any sense of pride in their work.
I find movies like this extremely distasteful because it does not give us a reason to think that it had genuinely attempted to show us something worthwhile. Better leave this one locked inside a pyramid for the next ten thousand years.