Some films have to be seen to be believed; I first saw Grégory Levasseur’s found-footage horror during the onset of delirium during the latter stages of a long-haul flight, and soon dismissed it as a fever dream cause by too many pretzels and nuts. But no, The Pyramid is real, an incredibly tatty variation on several clapped out themes that makes competing films like As Above So Below look classy in comparison.
The setting is Egypt, where a mysterious three-sided pyramid has been unearthed. Mr Miles Holden (Dennis O’Hare) and his daughter Nora (Ashley Hinshaw) are on the scene, and their team launches a drone inside that quickly becomes stuck inside the structure. Aided by primo gonk lad Fitzie (James Buckley from The Inbetweeners), their team enter the pyramid, and when a floor gives way beneath them, they have to fight their way out, matched against Anubis, Osiris and various skeletal cat-monsters who don’t take kindly to having their inner sanctum desecrated. Ancient pussy-cats hardly make for an impressive foe, but even Anubis and Osisis seems to be fairly subdued here, generally just pulling the chains of their captives before eventually jumping out to rip their hearts up and weigh their body-parts on scales as per ye olde hieroglyphics.
There’s plenty of interesting elements in Egyptian lore that would make for an excellent horror movie, and there’s a long tradition of morality tales about explorers who get what they deserve when up against such ancient supernatural foes. But The Pyramid is as stuck in the catacombs as the characters are, with poor visuals that leave the audience as confused as the Holdens as to what’s going on. And while Fitzie is meant to be a proxy for an audience who just want to know what’s going on, his constant complaint about the other characters trying to decipher the pyramids mystery fall flat; why wouldn’t they try to understand what’s captured them so abruptly?
The Pyramid is one of the least impressive movies imaginable; largely shot in murk, it’s tiresome, shrill, and a long slow build-up to a few CGI monsters that look like they’re on vacation from a PS2 game. Sure, The Blair Witch Project didn’t feature lavish production values, but it did offer a certain po-faced anxiety and a drear atmosphere. The Pyramid provokes merriment when it should be provoking scares; it’s a dismal excuse of a movie that confirms the final mummification of the found footage genre.