Just as a fair warning, I’m currently writing this review under the influence of alcohol, because The Pyramid didn’t think a press screening was necessary, or provide any Thursday night/midnight public releases before its December 5th release date. While I desperately try not to let such aggravating situational roadblocks cloud my judgement, what’s a critic supposed to think when a December horror movie refuses early screenings, Thursday night conveniences, and even midnight horror crowds?!
Editor’s Note: Decided to sleep off the alcohol. I’m now awake, and after soberly running through The Pyramid in my head, I can still confirm it’s the equivalent of dogshit crusted to the bottom of your shoe that takes about an hour and a half to scrape off. Let’s proceed, shall we?
The Pyramid kicks in after a team of American archeologists (MERICA!) uncover a hidden pyramid underneath mounds of sand, with a tunnel leading directly to the entrance. As rioting in Egypt intensifies, the father/daughter archeology team of Dr. Holden (Denis O’Hare) and his daughter Nora (Ashley Hinshaw) race to find a way into the previously undiscovered pyramid, but an order comes in that requires the site be closed down with Egypt’s safety in question. On the brink of a momentous discovery, Nora refuses to pack up and leave without exploring the opened pyramid, so the two Holdens make their way in with their tech guy Zahir (Amir K), documentarian Sunni (Christa Nicola), and a cameraman named Fitzy (James Buckley) – but what they find may not let them back out.
While I always try to find some type of silver lining in any movie, The Pyramid can be described as nothing more than a disastrous chore – horrendously acted, lifelessly created, unintelligibly written, and sadly scare-less. Flaunting more commitment issues than a Sex And The City character, Levasseur’s found footage abomination is about as useful to viewers as a social media share bar on a porno website.
The Pyramid is THE movie that horror lovers are referring to when passionately debating the death of mainstream genre films. If The Pyramid were a day of the week, it’d be Monday. If it were a Baldwin brother, it’d be Daniel. If it were a New-York-Based NFL team, it’d be the 2014 Jets. I did not like The Pyramid. Not one measly bit. Can I just copy and paste the “facepalm” emoticon 650 times to meet my word limit?
Levasseur has served as Alexandre Aja’s long-time writing companion, and even though Aja has a producing credit here, there’s absolutely nothing reminiscent of the genre veteran’s favorable career. Levasseur clearly learned nothing from Aja’s successes, because any sense of found footage competency is thrown out the window whenever The Pyramid simply forgets to be found footage.
Buckley is our eyes and ears for most the film, always rolling no matter what cat-like creatures might be attacking, yet other shots capture every character on screen, completely abandoning any possible found footage realism. Unless a ghost cameraman snuck into the pyramid and filmed while remaining undetected, how are we supposed to stay in the moment when a director can’t even do so himself? There’s absolutely no conviction in Levasseur’s production, as he finds “shortcuts” that are downright egregious errors for a found footage film to make.
Can we also discuss why in the hell there’s a score “adding drama” to The Pyramid? Let’s momentarily ignore the fact that found footage movies should NEVER have orchestral scores and think about this reality logically. Someone discovered video footage of a group of archeologists dying, took it home, cut it together, THEN SCORED THE ENTIRE THING. LIKE, IN A STUDIO. A person found video evidence of Anubis – most likely incriminating evidence due to the gruesome deaths of each explorer – but found it necessary to hire a professional musician so this dielight reel of Egyptian chaos could have a snazzy score when played in a court room? No, I’m sorry, there’s no logical reason to score such a film. If you’re going to choose the found footage route, at least have the balls to stick with it!
James Buckley tops this list of corpse-like characters as he desperately tries to inject a little comedy into The Pyramid, despite an aggressively unfunny script, but no one else manages to embody a watchable character, including the typically sound Denis O’Hare. Even mentioning what Hinshaw and Nicola fail to accomplish through absolutely atrocious character establishments is a seemingly futile act, because their performances will go unnoticed by most of the general public who don’t even know The Pyramid exists. The characters are moronic, their representation lacks any vitality, and their only purpose is to be trap-fodder while pushing further into a three-sided pyramid that screams “deathtrap” from its very first introduction. Successful horror movies all contain characters you want to see survive, which explains why The Pyramid is such a depressing failure.
Editor’s Note: I started drinking again. I can’t. I just can’t even right now.
Watching The Pyramid is like a Highlights magazine game where you’re constantly searching for something positive, but time passes in the most frustrating ways imaginable. Polluted with laughable CGI work (Anubis) and ignored plot points, you’ll end up scratching your head as characters begin to suffer from open sores that are never explained. First I thought they were caused by poisonous air, then thought maybe the cat-creatures were infecting people with scratches, and then I just stopped caring because writer Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon never feel it necessary to explain the scenario.
The Pyramid doesn’t care about you, or your feelings, or your mental well being. It’s obnoxious, classless, and thoughtless filmmaking in every way. The Pyramid would take you out for dinner, chew with its mouth opened, only talk about itself, and not even pick up the check – it’s that obliviously self-centered. Usually you have to buy me dinner first if you’re going to screw me like The Pyramid did.
While rambling on for another 1,000 words might make me feel slightly better about wasting two hours of my Friday night trapped inside a movie theater fighting every urge to walk out on Levasseur, there’s nothing else that needs to be said about As Above So Below 2…uhh…I mean The Pyramid. If you’re reading this review, that probably means you’re one of the 17 people who saw The Pyramid in theaters this weekend and somehow you weren’t bored to death, while everyone else on Earth will keep going about their lives blissfully unaware of Levasseur’s offensive horror blunder.
The Pyramid doesn’t care about its viewers, and Levasseur makes that notion blatantly obvious by finding new ways to reassure found-footage-haters that their wild anti-shaky-cam rants remain valid – so why should we care about such a film? We shouldn’t. It’s that simple.
The Pyramid should be avoided like the plague, as it easily makes a last-minute case for "Worst Horror Film Of 2014" notoriety.