Can anything new be done with the A-typical Monster Movie? After getting a chance to check out writer turned filmmaker Gregory Levasseur's latest genre offering, "The Pyramid". I think oddly enough there might be hope after all. The film, which arrives to DVD & BluRay next Tuesday May 5th. Follows an Archaeological group. Led by a father daughter team played by Ashley Hinshaw and Denis O'Hare. They venture to the middle east to investigate a newly-unearthed pyramid. Lured by what ancient secrets it may hold inside. The dig goes off without a hitch, but once the tomb is opened one of the locals/diggers is killed by toxic fumes which come flooding out of the place. This causes the local security to shut down the expedition and demand the group leave immediately. Of course they don't follow these orders, and decide to use the last 2 hours they have to pack up and leave as cover to sneak inside and do some snooping.
An action they'd soon come to regret. "Something" lurks within the pyramids pitch black corridors, and old dusty walls. These ancient ruins are home to something old, deadly, and sinister. The film lays itself out very well, it doesn't bother to sneak up on you or lead you in any red herring directions. Going in, you know what it's gonna be all about. And it establishes that quite quickly. But as a viewer, you always shake and then hang your head at characters who think they're automatically the smartest people in the room. These folks do. Thus breaking one of the Horror Genre's sacred rules. Better SAFE, than SORRY. They also manage to break another rule in the very process of entering the pyramid. DON'T F*** AROUND in Foreign lands. When it comes to monsters, magic, and what not, the locals know FAR more about this stuff than you do. But again, our Main Characters just seem to be intent on being the CAT that Curiosity Killed.
Half of the reason they decide to venture inside the mysterious triangular structure, is because a camera-bot they sent inside earlier goes missing. As a viewer, you can clearly see something fast and vicious attacks the equipment. Ripping it to shreds. But, our genius main characters decide to go in anyways. Apparently, the fortune that could be made from taking a few selfies or photos inside the pyramid and selling them to the highest bidder, is just too strong of a lure to resist. Either that, or they needed concrete proof for their friends back home. Thus avoiding one of those "sure you did" moments during dinner conversation. Anyways, once inside... things go from bad to worse when one of the group of five falls victim to the earth beneath their feet literally collapsing. Trapping them deep within the bowels of the structure. The rest of the group races to try and save them. But as they venture deeper within the labyrinth, they end up becoming lost themselves.
Meanwhile, our monster friend continues to stalk them, eventually taking a few swipes at the gang. Both situations drive them deeper and deeper into the structure, and closer and closer to an early grave. Add to that, the deadly beast that lurks within starts to finally hit its mark. Picking them off one by one. And the fear and stress of the situation causes the group to splinter and make bad decisions at times. Playing right into the hands of their inhuman tormentor. Yeah, there aren't any real "surprises" in "The Pyramid". It's a movie that moves at its own pace, knows very well what it is, and doesn't try to step outside of its script boundaries too often. The characters poor decisions ultimately leads to horrible deaths for many of them. That's nothing new. But hey, atleast these people aren't obnoxious teenagers who venture inside the Pyramid just to "screw" and "smoke dope". Right?
Nope... they're just over-zealous Archaeologists who make REALLY poor choices. SO once you get past the films poorly fleshed out characters, you can start to embrace the very slick and robust way this movie is filmed. I can imagine how difficult it is to shoot a movie like this. To capture the moments of Claustrophobia, fear, suspense, etc. Properly. While not overdoing it much to the audiences dismay. Or making it look like a cheesy reality show or indie flick. Director Gregory Levasseur manages to make the best out of a mostly weak script, by utilizing the films sceneries. Combining them with the presence of the films monster. Both wind up acting as a catalyst to hold the viewers interest at times when the characters make you wince with not-so-strong dialogue and the seemingly endless amounts of survival mistakes. Despite glaring weaknesses at the very start, and mostly in the films middle/second act. Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon's script manages to build up some interesting and surprising momentum as the movie enters its third act.
This is where the films best death scene occurs. Which I won't spoil, but Mortal Kombat fans will probably shed a nostalgic tear upon seeing it. But it's also where some well-placed and intriguing clues are left behind for the viewer. In regards to the whatever it is that is stalking and killing off the group. This all leads to not only a solid backstory/mythology being constructed for the monster, but a highly chilling and entertaining final 15 minutes or so as well. Which is capped off by a MONSTER of an ending! "The Pyramid" is an average monster flick in this reviewers opinion. Mostly because it doesn't start strong enough, and somewhat stumbles in the middle. But the final act features some fantastic writing, well placed scares, and shocking and intense moments! Which made me say, where was THIS MOVIE 45 minutes earlier?