In February of 1959, nine hikers in the Ural mountains were found dead. This is a fact. There is a lot of mystery around the deaths. Apparently the hikers tore their way out of their tents. They scattered around camp barefoot, and died of hypothermia. There are many people to this day who feel the deaths were part of a Russian government cover-up.
Devil’s Pass a 2013 (Rated R) UK-Russian horror film, directed by Renny Harlin). It is the fictional account of an American woman, Denise Evers (Gemma Atkinson) and her team of four others as they re-trace the steps of the original hikers on a trail through the east shoulder of the mountain Kholat Syakhl (which means, Mountain of the Dead) — also known as Dyaltov’s Pass.
There is nothing extraordinary about the movie. It is filmed in the all too common “Found Footage” style, scenes spliced together from a couple of hand-held cameras. However, the acting was well done. J. P. Hauser (Luke Albright) and Audy Thatcher (Ryan Hawley) are hired on as expert climbers for the jourrney. While, Denise’s film crew consists of Holly King (Holly Goss) and Jensen Day (Matt Stokoe).
Prior to the trek, the team meets and interviews a woman who was part of the ’59 Search Party. The woman (Nelly Nielsen) recounts events around the discovery of eleven bodies. Eleven, not the nine that has always been reported, adding to the conspiracy that the Russian government might have been involved in sweeping facts under the proverbial rug.
Finding their way toward the mountian, it becomes clear that Thatcher and Hauser are convinced that Denise is creating drama for her documentary, and not at all buying into anything supernatural about the deaths of the original nine hikers. With sub-zero temperatures, mysterious footprints around their camp, and a severed tongue — doubt is quickly turned to fear, and everyone except Denise want to abort the mission and just go back down the mountain.
I will not reveal what the reconstruction party discovers. At first, I thought it was lame. The movie had held my interest completely, up until the point revelations are made. I kept watching, regardless, and thankfully. The twsit that is not apparent until (like any good movie) is at the very end, and to me, made the movie over all that much more … I want to say brilliant, but if I do, it is for the twist and not the entire film. The film was good. The twist, brilliant.
Devil’s Pass entertained me. I did not play with my phone during it. No Facebooking, no texting (or minimal). And I enjoyed the story. For these reasons, I will give the movie three out of five Tombstones!