The Pyramid Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Released by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Grégory Levasseur
Written by Daniel Meersand as Nick Simon
2014, 89 minutes, Not Rated
VOD released on December 5th, 2014 | Blu-ray/DVD released on May 5th, 2015
Ashley Hinshaw as Nora
Denis O'Hare as Holden
James Buckley as Fitzie
Christa Nicola as Sunni
Amir K as Michael
I'm going to put this out there right now: I still enjoy the found footage subgenre. I know, I know, I'm probably one of the last six or seven people that still bother with it, but I'm okay with that. As long as the long-in-the-tooth zombie genre keeps shambling along, I get to partake in the pseudo-documentary horror and we'll all be happy. I will say this, though, just because I like the subgenre doesn't mean I'm going to defend every movie in it. I'll even make sure that you five or six people still in this boat with me avoid the dogs out there, like The Pyramid.
While I desperately want to get into everything that's wrong with this movie, I suppose you want some sort of synopsis. Holden (Dennis O'Hare - American Horror Story) and Nora (Ashley Hinshaw - True Blood) are a father/daughter archaeological team who have discovered a strange three-sided pyramid that pre-dates those more well-known Giza tombs by a substantial period. The two end up getting trapped in the pyramid through a series of events (which I won't go into because it's all oh so irrelevant) along with documentary crew Sunni (Crista Nicola - Home and Away) and Fitzie (James Buckley - The Inbetweeners), and Michael (Amir K), whose job I'm not quite clear on other than he controls a little robot, so we'll just call him the tech guy. Within minutes of exploring the innards of the pyramid, shit starts to happen because that's what it does.
I really don't know where to start here. There is so much wrong with The Pyramid it's overwhelming. I guess the best place would be just how incredibly lazy the script and directing are. It's a bit frustrating because I've seen the cast in other work and they are solid actors (Dennis O'Hare in particular), but have nothing to work with here. There is a point in the film where Sunni is yelling at Holden for getting them into this wacky mess. He tells her to take responsibility for her actions and her response is to get into his face and basically scream, "Argh!" I actually laughed at this because it's so clichéd, to the point where I was surprised that this really just happened. Throw in some additional weak lines and tons of exposition, and you are in for 89 minutes (that feels like about eight days) of mediocrity.
Complementing the weak script is the inept direction. I know I said it before, but I will repeat it again for effect, it's so lazy. Because this is supposed to be a found footage horror (I guess), you would think that the footage would only come from the documentary crew. Well, it does. There's also a camera that Nora wears, so we get a different point of view there. Oh, there's also THAT UNSEEN PERSON WHO IS FILMING. It's as if Director Grégory Levasseur didn't know what he either was filming or wanted to film, so you get some sort of half-ass mixture between pseudo-documentary and straight-up horror (haha, not really) movie.
The characters are stuck in a pyramid, so you would think the claustrophobia would lend nicely to creating some tension, but we don't get that here. There is virtually no unease found anywhere in the film, instead we have to settle for jump scares in the form of cats. You read that right, the majority of the scares literally come from the hairless cats that are running around the pyramid. It's so meta it hurts.
I will give The Pyramid credit for at least one scene. When they finally get to the big bad at the end, some Egyptian god whose name I forgot (and, no, I will not be watching this again to find that name), it's pretty creepy when you see it through the night vision screen of the person filming it. But that moment is quickly ruined when the antagonist is filmed by that aforementioned unseen person and the Syfy CGI gets all up in your face. Speaking of which, I did have a chuckle at the balls of the filmmakers to homage the iconic shot from Alien 3. And considering how Alien 3 was received, there really is some irony here. (Although I'd watch Alien 3 all day every day before sitting through The Pyramid again).
I have probably mentioned it in prior reviews, but every week my friend hosts what we like to call Friday Fun, where we all get together, have a meal, and watch (most of the time) a bad movie that we can revel in the awfulness of. So, if you have something like that in your group of friends, I'll actually recommend this for that purpose. If not, just avoid.