The Pyramid is currently playing in theaters
The Pyramid (2014) – Rated R
“An archaeological team attempts to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid only to find themselves hunted by an insidious creature”
“It’s clear while other pyramids were built to keep people out this one was built to keep something in.” – Holden, borrowing a line from The Keep
The Pyramid is such a shame. It has a number of brilliant ideas that separate it from other mummy movies. There are Egyptian civet cat-like creatures, poisoned air, possibly a mystery disease, and a unique large creature as well as the usual assortment of pyramid deathtraps. All of these things, separately or together, can make for an effective horror movie.
Sadly, The Pyramid is not that movie. None of those ideas are fleshed out at all. The poisoned air/mystery disease subplot actually goes nowhere and has no real bearing on the film. The cat-like creatures are given an absolutely ridiculous rationale. The large creature is identifiable but only expositionally fleshed out.
Those wouldn’t doom the film but The Pyramid is one of the more moronic horror films that I have seen at the theater. It starts off as a found footage film with all of the usual overlaid text. The initial idea of the found footage film is rooted in cinema verite, an attempt to give the horror a sense of intimacy and immediacy. The Blair Witch Project pulled it off stunningly but in the decades since it has become so cliche as to be almost unbearable. It can still be pulled off but movies like [REC] are the exception rather than the rule.
The second reason for the found footage film is expense. You can save quite a bit of money on special effects if you blur things out, shoot them up close, and apply some camera effects instead of going for the big Hollywood money shot. Finally, it just became lazy screenwriting, just one more thing to toss into your horror hodgepodge.
The Pyramid can’t even stick to its own premise. There are constant shots in the film which could not be taken with the multiple cameras they take in with them. Like all the good ideas they had, found footage was just another ingredient in the stew.
Another of those incredibly tired, I mean inspired ingredients, is the jump scare. There are numerous “Boo!” moments in The Pyramid. The first one actually did make me jump, mostly because it occurred just as I was getting bored by all the nonsense. One of the ones that failed was when I noticed a character standing very stiffly in the center of the frame. My first thought of “why does he look so odd?” was quickly replaced with “oh that’s what’s going to happen to him” and sure enough it did.
Our team of EXPLORERS walks into a room with exits on each of the other walls and plenty of landmarks and inscriptions to orient themselves with. Later when they encounter this room, they have no idea which one of the four exits they came from. Seriously? Our creative brain trust of victims are making more bad decisions than the characters in a Friday the 13th movie. I half-expected our scientist crew to break out the weed and JD and get jiggy with it.
Avoid The Pyramid!