Egyptian history…a wealth of lore ripe for horror yet somehow consistently screwed up. There are few good horror movies that deal with the subject let alone great ones & this latest can be marked up as another failure.
So…found footage, one of the horror movie tropes that have me breaking out in a cold sweat. The Pyramid is a found-footage horror that randomly switches between the infamous shaky camera styles to a more professional angle. The latter is the much preferred way to watch & I found myself constantly disappointed when it went back to a handheld camera shot.
The film takes place during the Egyptian troubles of 2013. In the Egyptian desert an archaeological team find a huge 3-sided pyramid buried under the sand. Using satellite imagery they discover a tunnel that leads into the apex of the pyramid. They bust open the door which releases a gas that poisons one of the workers.
This scene is every reason I hate found-footage movies. The camera gets knocked over, the sound becomes all distorted & unclear, we barely see anything but what we do is fuzzy & interrupted by shakiness. It’s horrible to watch & doesn’t in anyway build tension.
So after some terrible character build-up the next day the group are ordered to leave the site as the protests are getting worse. Worried that they won’t be able to get back anytime soon the head of the archaeological team (Miles Holden) gives into his bossy & demanding daughter (Nora) & agrees to send in their pet robot to check the place out.
The robot goes in, looks around & is attacked in the first of many awful jump scares.
Desperate to get the expensive robot back, the pair agree to go in after it alongside Zahir (the robot’s keeper), Sunni (documenting the dig) & Fitzie (cameraman).
So the set-up is decent…a 3-sided pyramid buried under the sand is creepy enough already but something being loose inside? Nice…
The film quickly devolves into boring clichés, stupid character decisions, bad acting & some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in a modern film.
So from this point on the review is going to delve into spoilers because to really explain just how bad this film is I have to tell you what the big secret inside the pyramid is.
Our group get lost (of course) & fall through a section of the floor to a lower level. An unintentionally funny moment occurs here (I won’t spoil) it but you’ll be amazed at just how durable these characters are.
Cue some lengthy escape attempts that reveal what creatures exist inside the pyramid. I initially thought they looked like undead CGI rats but it’s worse than that…they are actually undead CGI cats.
The big bad reveal at the end is that this is the god Anubis’s prison & he is stalking the dusty, tight corridors. Anubis…the half-man, half-jackal of legend is about as intimidating as the afore-mentioned cats. He looks awful, all CGI & all bad. It’s cringe-worthy stuff…
The same can be said for most of the acting & characters…take our archaeological pair who are happy to go wandering into an unknown pyramid with next to no supplies. They are so stupid…
Miles wanders through the pyramid staring as if he can’t understand what he is seeing & constantly touches stuff. It is this action that sets off the one solitary trap that the group come across. A trap that has an easy escape route as well…if the ancient Egyptians wanted to stop people wouldn’t the entire thing have been a trap-laden hell-hole?
The pair’s idea of an escape route is to head down stairs that obviously leads deeper into the pyramid. (bearing in mind that the pyramid is still mostly hidden in the sand how would going lower be an escape route!?) They just keep going deeper into the pyramid.
No-one questions how the wrecked robot ends up in several different places & once characters begin to die off they are quickly forgotten about never to be heard from again. Sub-plots about infections are initially exciting but go no-where & the film has a horribly lengthy ending that just seems to drag.
That there, is the best bit in the entire film…
There are way too many missed opportunities throughout & the pyramid looks bland. This sort of setting should excite & intrigue, not bore. The story, while being more unique than most is filled with historical inaccuracies that will begin to annoy you the more the film goes on.