Set in Egypt (in case you hadn’t guessed) – we fellow archaeologists (and father, daughter) Holden (Denis O’Hare) and Nora (Ashley Hinshaw), who discover a pyramid buried deep beneath the desert, which is so old that it has been buried deep in the sand across thousands of years. Subject of a documentary by presenter Sunni (Christa Nicola) and cameraman Fitzie (James Buckley), they decide to delve in to the ancient structure, becoming desperately lost inside, unable to find their way back to the exit.
Where The Pyramid falls short most spectacularly, in its distinct inability to scare the viewer. Instead, Levasseur revels predominantly in quick jumps to provoke any sense of terror, which, though working, is far too easy to achieve, whereas it’s psychological horror that takes real skill. Instead this picture abides, frustratingly, to the tropes of the genre, as a conventional turn that does little to inspire. That much is evident with the introduction of Nora, as while initially she appears to be a strong-willed, intelligent female protagonist – something of a rarity in this genre – within moments we see her undressing, as she is objectified before we’ve had the chance to get to know her, working as an instant contradiction.
The most vexing element, however, is the wildly inconsistent use of ‘found footage’. The pictures begins as something of a mockumentary, as we only see what Fitzie’s camera picks up, or the one attached to Nora’s head. But then as we progress, Levasseur varies between the handheld cameras, and then just traditional, omniscient shots. The latter serves the picture better, which begs the question – why even persist with the found footage angle in the first place, if there wasn’t the desire to stick with? If you do feel inclined to take that stylistic approach, in order for it to work it needs to be consistently implemented, and that’s simply not the case with this production.
Nonetheless, The Pyramid is exceedingly easy to indulge in, and requires little of the viewer, as a film that is unrelenting in its approach, getting right in to the action from the word go. The problem is, that very action is hackneyed, predictable, and most detrimentally, somewhat tedious.