The Pyramid (Movie Review)

The Pyramid (Movie Review)
1 10

PLOT: A couple of archeologists and a documentary crew head inside a newly-discovered pyramid and encounter Anubis, the half-jackal, half-man creature who proceeds to tear them apart.

REVIEW: Horrendous. Godawful. Deplorable. These words don't even sum up how bad THE PYRAMID is. It's a movie existing for no one, other than whoever benefits from the tax write-off. It has been made without an ounce of passion, intelligence or interest by filmmakers who have, - stunningly - made good movies in the past. (The director is Alexandre Aja's longtime co-writer.) I hate THE PYRAMID and want to forget it exists as soon as possible.

Yet I forge on. Consider this review a warning; if you actually end up watching THE PYRAMID after reading this, I never want to know you. In every way, it is beneath the standards of an original Syfy movie; at least those have a little bit of gumption, a spiritedness that indicates someone within the production had fun while making it. Gregory Levasseur's shoddy effort is a perfect storm of bad acting, bad writing, bad directing and bad intentions, and it genuinely feels like it never for a moment attempts to be anything other than a miserable experience. This movie wanted to hurt me with its very hideousness.

Thinking about summing up the plot is giving me a headache, but I'll try: A father-daughter team of archeologists - the worst archeologists ever - find a three-sided pyramid in Egypt while social unrest explodes in Cairo. (This very real concern is never explored or expanded upon.) After an attempt to venture into the location with a mini Mars rover is waylaid by a mysterious animal, the duo enters the pyramid, accompanied by a small documentary crew (of course). Faster than you can say "are you f*cking kidding me?" the team is lost and confused, heading deeper and deeper into the pyramid even while they're beset upon by ferocious cat monsters (really) and, evidently, Anubis, the jackal-man best known for his appearances on the most popular hieroglyphs. (Really. REALLY.)

I mean, I can't sugarcoat anything, even if I wanted to. The plot is that simple, the characters are dumb beyond words, and the film's aesthetic is baffling: you think it's a found footage movie based on the fact that almost all of the opening scenes are delivered from the POV of the cameramen involved with the documentary, but once inside the pyramid the perspective shifts so that we're watching everything from an objective POV. And then we switch back again to the found footage format. If the found footage format is abandoned early on, why do we have to keep seeing things from the cameraman's perspective all the time? It's clear Levasseur didn't know what he wanted his film to look like, so he decided to have it both ways, leading to a hilariously inconsistent viewing experience.

Not that any of it is visually appealing, found footage or not; this movie is dimly lit and cruddy-looking. Even some decent art direction is crushed by how terribly it's photographed. The CGI is laughable. Like, public television bad. Your nephew could conjure up more innovative effects.

The acting is uniformly awful. Ashley Hinshaw is the perky blond archeologist that never, ever existed in real life, and try as she might, she's horrible. Sorry to be mean, but it's true; her very first scene is ridiculous, and her performance only goes downhill from there. Even Denis O'Hare - usually so reliable in shows like "True Blood" and "American Horror Story" - gives a shockingly tone-deaf performance, clearly a product of the half-assed screenplay and a first-time director who is way out of his depth. The only slightly bearable presence is James Buckley ("The Inbetweeners"), who acts as the cameraman and our frequent voice of reason, but even he can't do anything to save this dreck. He's presumably meant to be the comic relief, but he doesn't say a single funny thing; it's a shame to even see him in THE PYRAMID, to be honest. The other characters/actors are so bad they will go unmentioned; consider it a courtesy.

This is a short, venomous review. I'll acknowledge its terseness. But THE PYRAMID is an atrocity. To think that this movie is being released in over 500 theaters (granted, a small amount for a 20th Century Fox production - and by the way what the f*ck were they thinking?!) while smaller, better movies like THE BABADOOK and STARRY EYES have to scratch and claw for every screen makes my blood boil. What we horror fans always ask for are smart, original films to see in the theater; VOD is great, sure, but it's undeniably special when a good one gets a wide theatrical release. THE PYRAMID sets original horror back 100 years. Never see THE PYRAMID. Let's just pretend this never happened.

Oh, I guess I should add that it's not scary at all. Not for a single second.



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