The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Director: Renny Harlin (2013)
Starring: Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Gemma Atkinson
Find it: IMDB

Another found footage horror film claiming to be based on a true story. Except this one actually is, a little! In 1959, nine ski hikers mysteriously died in Russia's great Ural mountains, leaving a heap of questions and conspiracy theories surrounding their icy corpses. And a disembodied tongue. Renny Harlin (he of one-of-the-greatest-action-films-of-all-time fame*) tackles the mystery in The Dyatlov Pass Incident, a surprisingly decent variation on The Blair Witch Project, set on the side of a mountain.  

I've made no secret of my contempt for found footage horror features, but, given the right material and setting, I can be swayed by individual pieces. [REC] for example, sits in my Blu-ray collection as one of the finest zombie films of all time. And I do love me a Cannibal Holocaust or two, too. The snowy mountains of The Dyatlov Pass Incident are certainly interesting enough for the gimmick to work, even if our team of intrepid young filmmakers do seem more interested in filming each other than the mountains or the Northern Lights.

Making a documentary about the Dyatlov group and the circumstances surrounding their deaths, the kids retrace the hikers' steps, uncovering more than a few ominous signs as they go. Who killed Dyatlov and his friends? The Russian military? Aliens? An avalanche? A Yeti? Whatever the answer, it's bound to be concealed in that sinister-looking metal door buried in the side of the mountain. Either that, or a bearded Scotsman pining for his true love while rocking out to Mama Cass. Despite some stupid decisions from the kids (avalanche? Sure, let's follow that up by screaming ourselves hoarse) and logical inconsistencies (sleeping naked on the top of a freezing cold mountain, with only a tent and a sleeping bag for protection) The Dyatlov Pass Incident is watchable enough. The snowy mountain setting is a great location - even if it does leave me hankering for a Mountains of Madness adaptation - and the shift to the underground bunker is interesting if a little uninspired. A few neat twists and turns towards the end will keep audiences guessing, while the acting is of a generally decent quality. Apparently, though, Matt Stokoe is in Misfits, which I watch every week. I had no idea that this was the same person. Might want to work on that screen presence, pal.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident does a thing I haven't experienced from a found footage film in a very long time - it holds my attention.

(*Cliffhanger, of course)


  1. Sure, wasn't bad.

  2. jervaise brooke hamster8 November 2013 at 21:01

    [REC] is pretty good, [REC 2] is a true masterpiece, and [REC 3] is a cult classic.