As many people who have read my reviews in the past may know, I am a huge fan of the found footage film (no matter what genre it is) but I have little to say about the film The Pyramid (2014). This is a film, that for me, had so much going for it from the trailer alone. It was produced by Alexander Aja (the genius behind High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes remake) and directed by Gregory Levasseur who has had a huge hand with all of Aja’s films. The film also had many pluses as it was a film centered on the Egyptian pyramids (one of my all-time favorite subjects) and genuinely looked cool and exciting. The final film is anything but.
The film concerns a film crew lead by Sunni (Christa Nicola) and her cameraman Fitzie (James Buckley) who with the latest technology is documenting the unveiling of the first ever three sided pyramid that was discovered by Holden (Denis O’Hare) and his daughter Nora (Ashley Hinsaw). Holden and the crew have very little time to explore the pyramid as the country is being torn by war and conflict and their dig is being shut down by the government (adding some very needed color to the political subtext to the story). Once they enter the pyramid they become witness to the trappings of its strange environment soon discovering that the pyramid wasn’t designed to keep people out but to keep something monstrous in.
This would all be a great story for a found footage film but it breaks the cardinal rule of the found footage film which is not to break the camera angle. The first third of the film (for the most part) follows this simple rule but by the second act when everything goes crazy the film decides that the camera angle can be anywhere it wants to be whether there is someone behind the camera or not. It’s also a shame that after the engaging and wonderful setup of the film that it de-evolves into a slasher film with one of the worst CGI creatures ever put in a found footage film. The creatures that inhabit the pyramid are actually quite interesting as is the concept for the actual purpose of the pyramid but the execution is what makes the whole film suffer.
This is a very high concept for a found footage film (as are most of Aja and Levasseur’s collaborations) but this is the first one in which a traditional style would have greatly benefited the final result. The found footage format stymies the overall story and renders it flaccid and delivers a film that’s probably one of the worst of the found footage kind.