The Pyramid

A two person documentary crew travels to Egypt to film an archaeological team. These archaeologists have discovered an ancient pyramid shrouded in mystery. The archaeologists and the film crew decide to venture into the depths of the pyramid. They soon regret their decision when they become trapped in its labyrinthine tunnels. What’s worse, something is stalking them in the dark depths. This pyramid may soon become their tomb.

There are many things I enjoyed about this film. Considering the fact that I studied archaeology in college, and it’s something that I love, I may be a bit biased about the story. I love the idea of following archaeologists into a site that has yet to be explored. The rich Egyptian mythology and burial customs throughout the film also made things very interesting. Towards the beginning of the film I definitely became concerned, because they kept referencing technology they were using on the dig and how this tech was also used on Mars. I was worried that they were going to turn this film into an aliens-built-the-pyramids conspiracy type story. Much to my relief, that never happened.

The fact that the film didn’t leave any loose ends also made me exceptionally happy. The writers did a great job of explaining what was happening so that everything made sense throughout the film. The only thing that was never truly explained was why this particular pyramid only has three sides while every other pyramid has four. This is clearly a unique pyramid with a special purpose, but why only three sides? Although it was never explained, once they are inside the pyramid you don’t even think about the shape so it wasn’t too bothersome.

Two other successful aspects of The Pyramid were the special effects and the set design. The CGI was wonderfully understated. It was restricted to only the living things within the pyramid, and done in a way that made sense for the film. Those in charge of special effects clearly paid attention to things like anatomy, evolution, the type of environment these things live in, and Egyptian mythology. The sets that made up the inside of the pyramid were also quite beautiful. Again, there was clear attention to detail here. They researched pyramids enough to know what would be found within the structures, such as the apex of the pyramid and the burial chamber, as well as where they would be found.

While the overall story was fun and interesting, there were several aspects that brought this film down. One thing that bothered me a great deal was the style in which it was filmed. It starts out as a found footage style film so the only camera angles are the ones provided by the cameras the characters have. Once they become trapped inside the pyramid, the filmmakers decided to drop this in favor of typical camera angles.  It’s clear that they decided to use both the found footage style of filming with more traditional filming once inside the pyramid so they could utilize many angles during the more intense scenes, but it made the film confusing at times. You are expecting two different points of view from the character’s cameras, then all of the sudden there are other angles. At first I was left feeling confused on which character was operating that camera, until I realized they had simply changed with filming style. It was an unfortunate decision that ruined the effect of the film by combining two filming styles (that should not be combined) as opposed to one style.

The Pyramid definitely made me jump multiple times, yet I feel it is a shame that the film relied so heavily on jump-scares. The simple fact that the film takes place in dark, underground tunnels where you are being stalked by some evil force gives the film plenty of intensity and a feeling of claustrophobia. Add in the toxic air issue and the claustrophobic feeling becomes even more pronounced. Having a few jump-scares to enhance this feeling makes complete sense, and is entirely necessary to keep up the excitement. However, having jump-scares around every corner actually detracts from the intensity and takes the film in more of a hokey direction.

Another disappointing aspect of this film was the acting. While part of this was simply due to the performances falling flat, it seems like a lot of it also had to do with the writing. I had stated before that I appreciated the writers explaining everything that was happening in the movie. While I stand by this statement, I believe the information was also conveyed in a way that felt very unnatural and forced. These people are fighting for their lives, but they have to stop what they’re doing to talk about some archaeological information. The acting did not help to make these situations feel any less forced. On an individual level, I was very disappointed by Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story, True Blood). I usually find him to be a great actor, but he was so monotone throughout the entire film and he just seemed like he was sleepwalking through the film.

Knowing that this film has not been well received, I can say that I probably enjoyed it more than most critics. This could be due to my love of archaeology and mythology. This is a film with many flaws, and any critic can spot that. Despite this, it is still a fun watch. Likely someone who has an interest in ancient history and mythology would enjoy it more than other viewers. If you are that kind of person, I would definitely say that this film is worth a watch. Even if you decide it’s not your cup of tea, just remember that it’s only 89 minutes long.


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