The Pyramid (2014)

Skewered on spikes and chewed by rat-cat-things!
Skewered on spikes and chewed by rat-cat-things!

A small group of archeologists and filmmakers become trapped in a newly discovered underground three-sided Egyptian pyramid. One of them gets injured by falling debris, then the situation becomes worse when scrawny feline things are encountered and then a larger god-creature joins in on the action…

Ignore the poster: there are no mummies in the flick
Ignore the poster: there are no mummies in the flick

The found footage format is used well sometimes in the movie (the night vision views), though the director sometimes forgets it’s found footage and we see stuff not from the camera POV.

The night vision shots work well
The night vision shots work well

The story features the usual found footage-style bickering dialogue that always becomes tiresome, though James Buckley from THE INBETWEENERS adds some humour.

There’s rather too much time spent trudging and crawling around tunnels and chambers, and there are no mummies featured in the movie (despite what’s indicated on the poster), but the rat-like cat creatures are interesting critters and the reveal that the one and only, actual jackal-headed god Anubis is imprisoned in the pyramid, eager to rip out hearts to judge souls, is pretty good.

One of the little feline-critters before we get to see its face
One of the little feline-critters before we get to see its face
Anubis looks pretty cool
Anubis looks pretty cool
A victim gets a clawed monster-fist right through his chest!
A victim gets a clawed monster-fist right through his chest!

Alexandre (PIRANHA 3D, CRAWL) Aja produced the movie, but it’s a shame he didn’t direct it too, as he knows how to make really satisfying creature features. First-time director Grégory Levasseur, who is usually a producer and screenwriter, helmed this project instead and he doesn’t really manage to imbue THE PYRAMID with a decently creepy atmosphere or provide the kind of tension Aja would’ve easily brought to the film. But the movie does get much better in the latter portion of the movie, the CGI for the most part is just about acceptable, and there are some well-handled scenes, such as when a character gets skewered on floor spikes and is picked at by the rat-cat-things.

Trapped on spikes and nibbled by nasties!
Trapped on spikes and nibbled by nasties!

Finally, I think Anubis is a pretty good creation: its jackal face looks like it’s been flayed of skin and the god-being’s preoccupation with judging victims by weighing their hearts is an interesting plot angle.

Its face looks good in close-up, and this is probably because a full-size model of Anubis’ head was built (see end of blog for photos), which I assume was used as photogrammetry reference for the computer FX department for details and colour, etc.

He's behind you!
He’s behind you!
Anubis' raw-looking foot
Anubis’ raw-looking foot

The introduction of the monstrous god-creature definitely helped nudge the movie up a few rungs of the enjoyment ladder for me, that’s for sure.

Anubis looms over another victim
Anubis wants to judge everyone!

Here’s some of the concept art produced for the film…

Anubis concept
Anubis concept
Cat-creature concept illo
Cat-creature concept illo
Another concept illo of a cat-critter
Another concept illo of a cat-critter

Here are a couple of behind the scenes shots of a cool model of Anubis’ head…

Cool Anubis head model
Niiiiiiice!
This model looks pretty good
This model looks pretty good
teaser poster

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