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Naked chick on the poster. I said it was good – I didn’t say it was cliché free.

I think there are probably 2 reasons that you might be reading this.

If, like me, you have seen The Dyatlov Pass Incident in the (bargain) DVD section of your local supermarket, popping up on amazon or hovering on flikster, lovefilm or wherever it is you cool and law-abiding Hispters like to download your movies from – then you’re probably procrastinating over watching it. 

It looks kind of cool but a sceptical eyebrow is raised at the mention of Blair Witch. The concept is good but dear-god-not-another-lost-footage-horror!!!

Well, I admire you for your caution but on this occasion, I’m going to recommend that you take a chance. I can’t promise you will like this film – but I think it’s worth a look.

As for the rest of you – I know why you’re here. It’s the ‘true story’ thing again, isn’t it? Either that or you want to know about this Philadelphia Experiment thingy you just heard about. *le sigh*

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The real Dyatlov Pass Incident

Firstly the concept: in 2013 a group of American students receive a grant to travel to Russia and produce a documentary on the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The mystery is as follows: in 1959 a group of 9 Russian students who were ski-hiking through the Ural Mountains all died due to ‘compelling natural force.’ Their slashed tent had been abandoned, the hikers having cut their way out from the inside. Their bodies were found in various states of undress, most also missing one or both of their shoes. All were determined to have died of hypothermia. Two had sustained fractured skulls, two had fractured ribs and one girl was missing her tongue. No attempt had been made to return to their tent and collect their clothes or supplies.

We follow the American students as they retrace the steps of the Russian group. As things progress, you won’t be surprised to learn that sinister happenings abound, strange sounds, footprints, malfunctioning equipment…until they reach the Dyatlov pass, where clearly levels of bat shit insanity are quickly reached.

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Obligatory night vision shot

I’m not going to say that the film’s answer to the mystery is entirely…expected, but they definitely get points for originality. You probably won’t see this one coming and there are enough WTF moments along the way to pique the interest of even the most cynical horror fan. I mean come on…I liked it.

Ok – so how to whet your appetite for The Dyatolv Pass Incident? Well firstly, by not referring to it by it’s stupid alternate name ‘Devil’s Pass’. Stupid, stupid, stupid name. Presumably cooked up for people who get scared off by foreign words like ‘Dyatlov’ – basically the type of people who don’t deserve good films.

Next, don’t let the lost footage thing put you off. This isn’t a shaky cam film, the standard of production is pretty high. It’s utilised well and contributes to the style and flow of the film rather than feeling like an obstacle *I’m looking at you Cloverfield*

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This film has a good concept. And yes, it is based on real events and has a real mystery at its heart. So even if you hate the film it might just give you a good introduction to a pretty cool unsolved mystery. There’s a lot of information, misinformation and sensationalism out there regarding this unexplained mystery. From my searches I think this is the best site to get a perspective on the facts:

http://www.aquiziam.com/dyatlov_pass_1.html

The wiki page is ok but make sure you have your bullshit detectors set to level 5. I will be doing a blog post on this unnerving little mystery when time allows.

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Lastly, the characters are good – and that’s such a rarity in horror it instantly makes me more sympathetic to any movie. They’re not just adequately characterised but also sympathetic and realistic. I hate bad characterisation in the way other people hate relentless Facebook updates and Simon Cowell.

If you like the sound of a film which is like a cross between Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and an episode of the X-Files, this is probably for you.

So, I recommend taking a chance on this. It could be argued convincingly that things get very silly towards the end, but hell – I don’t love horror and science fiction for being mundane. The effects might not be the best in the world but they do the job and they aren’t over used which also gets big shiny gold stars from me. No it’s not the new Blair Witch Project – it isn’t as scary or as original. But it’s well made and thoroughly enjoyable.

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