Sunday, 28 June 2015



Yawn. We didn't really need any further evidence that the found footage bag of tricks was thoroughly emptied about two hundred desperately lame pretend documentaries ago. The formula was exhausted decades ago but it still keeps stumbling into life like a particularly idiotic zombie, and if there's anything worse than yet another found footage movie on the shelves it's the constant refusal of all the hacks who keep churning these damnable things out to man up and accept they're just wasting everybody's time. Stop it. If it looks like it filmed by me (and I've seen the VHS family Christmas tapes I shot sometime in the 1990s so I know whereof I speak) then it's simply not good enough to put out in the public arena, and I've been bored senseless enough times by your camcorder arsing about already.

Actually there is something worse still: a film apparently made by people who don't actually understand how found footage works. The Pyramid is partly found footage and partly a regular film, but the mixture doesn't work because there's no reason why the diegetic and non-diegetic cameras should co-exist. (There's also no reason why all the cameras are filming in 2.35 widescreen, but they probably figure it's probably only the most anal of aspect ratio nerds who fuss over things like that.) It's a pity, because this could have been a decently enjoyable if very silly Halloween horror movie: dim archaeologists (father and daughter) unearth a previously unknown pyramid in the Egyptian deserts that could theoretically rewrite the history books. When the NASA probe they send down into the entrance tunnel is attacked by a barely glimpsed creature, the two dim experts and a couple of equally dim documentary film-makers venture down into the labyrinth to find out what happened....

Cue sand-traps, little gribbley monsters, a chamber of spikes, mysterious infections, a lot of imbecilic bickering and slabs of exposition before a gloriously silly final reel that brings on a big-ass gribbley monster and one sudden jump moment that I'll admit caught me by surprise. It's a dumb horror film, but it would have been an enjoyably dumb one if they'd ditched the faux-reality routine entirely. Once they start putting in shots that aren't coming from any of the visible cameras, once they start cutting and editing between all the various cameras, and once they've slapped a music score (albeit a droney ambient noise one) on top of everything, you start wonder why they bothered with the camcorder approach in the first place.

Personally I think it was a lack of confidence in the basic material, a sense that audiences wouldn't enjoy it unless they were constantly reminded that it was all supposed to be real. But the constant switching just had me shouting "Hang on, who's filming that?" several times at the DVD player: the film ends up as neither one thing nor the other, but the wrong bits of both. Mostly it doesn't work, and the few bits that do aren't enough to drag it up any higher than "just about watchable". Shame, as I'd probably have enjoyed it as a proper film.


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