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I wanted so much for Devil’s Pass (2013) to be good. I have a fondness for mountaineering disaster movies, and this one seemed to have a lot of potential. It’s directed by Renny Harlin, it centers on the real-life unexplained deaths of nine skiers in 1959, and it flew mostly under the radar when it was released. Now that I’ve seen it, unfortunately I understand why.
First, the good parts. The basic storyline is interesting and creepy: five college students, led by Holly (Holly Goss), trek into the Ural Mountains to make a documentary about the Dyatlov Pass Incident—in which nine skiers died in 1959 without any survivors or witnesses—and hopefully discover what killed them. (The number of bodies found comes into question early on – that will be important later.) Despite the many eye-rolling explanations – aliens, the Yeti, a government conspiracy – posited early in the film, I was genuinely surprised by what the danger turned out to be, and I was creeped out by the way it was revealed. This has the bones of a good horror movie.