Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Pyramid [2014]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChiTribune/Variety (1 1/2 Stars)  RogerEbert.com (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C-)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune/Variety (G. Lodge) review
RogerEbert.com (P. Sobczynski) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review  

The Pyramid [2014] (directed by Grégory Levasseur, screenplay by Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon) is actually a kinda fun horror movie conflating one of the oldest genres of horror films (the "mummy movie" with one of horror's newest genres (the "lost footage film").

Set in contemporary Egypt with Cairo, in flames because of various disturbances, we're told that using satellite imaging American researchers recently discovered a previously completely buried pyramid located in the desert some 200 miles to the south. 

The researchers, a father and daughter team Miles and Nora Holiday (played by Denis O'Hare and Ashley Hinshaw respectively), both PhDs of course, are both "working together" and "of different schools." 

When a documentary crew Sunni (played by Christa Nicola) and Fitzie (played by James Buckley), probably hired by the daughter, comes out to the excavation site, they encounter something straight of an Indiana Jones movie -- hundreds of Egyptians with shovels, pick axes and wheelbarrows clearing away the sand to expose said pyramid, and more to the point "an entrance" detected previously by ground penetrating radar.  Who hired the Egyptian diggers? probably dad.  Who thought of getting the radar imaging scan? probably the daughter.  Dad's looking forward to entering the pyramid, "old school," with rope, pick axe, etc.  Daughter and her techie Egyptian boyfriend Zahir (played by Amir K) are looking forward to sending a small remote control rover, "borrowed from NASA," into the pyramid first. 

So part of the initial joy of watching this film is the back-and-forth between Father and Daughter, who again, are "(basically) on the same team," but then again "they're (kinda) not" ;-)

Okay, the hired Egyptian diggers get to the entrance to the Pyramid and ... suddenly, they are ORDERED by the Egyptian government TO STOP.  Now remember folks, Cairo's "in flames" ... So why the heck would they care about a dig 200 miles away?

Well, that's exactly what both Father and Daughter (Americans) think.  So they try to tell a rather angry Egyptian soldier (played by Faycal Attougui) sent there to shut them down to give them just a "couple of hours" to at least get to see something of the inside of the pyramid that they spent so much time and money digging out.  He's not exactly convinced, but they decide to steal those few hours anyway.

What now?  Well, the rover seems the better way go now since they don't really have the time to explore it (quickly) themselves.  HOWEVER, a few minutes into the rover having entered the pyramid SOMETHING -- is it some sort of a feral dog? -- jumps out of nowhere and knocks said rover out of commission.   Well, that rover REALLY WAS "on loan from NASA" and we're told it cost $3 million.  So now the team has to go quickly into the  pyramid ... to retrieve that rover ;-).  The rest of the movie ensues ...

What ensues? ... Well, there are "things" in there that appear to be really dangerous.  What kind of "things"?  Well, the kind of things that perhaps a society really would want to entomb / bury for a really, really long time (and perhaps even for eternity).  Hence _perhaps_ answering the question of why the Egyptian government with seemingly "much more on its plate than simply a random 'dig' by a team of American archeologists" would _care_ about the dig ... 

Anyway, what follows is a kinda an "Ancient Alien" inspired stew (kinda "Ancient Alien" inspired but not that much...) that's again both kinda fun to watch and kinda scary.  And, of course, every "bump in the night" is being recorded by the invited "Documentary Crew."

So this is NOT a particularly deep movie.  But it is quite contemporary.  And CNN / History Channel junkies would probably enjoy it.  So even though this film will certainly win no Oscars ... IMHO it is a kinda fun movie to watch.  So good job folks, pretty good job!

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