Movie review: Devil’s Pass

movie review, movies, research October 4, 2013

I’m always intrigued by movies that claim to be based on actual events, particularly horror movies. Most of the horrific things we write about are so far out there it’s unreasonable to assume they’d actually happen. For a movie to bill itself as real horror is fascinating to me.

I was trolling Amazon rentals for something different to watch one night last month and found this one:

100413 Devil's Pass

    Also known as:

100413 The Dyatlov Pass Incident










This is a 2013 movie directed by Renny Harlin. The basic premise is straightforward: a group of teenagers read about the “Dyatlov Pass Incident,” which is a real event, and go to investigate.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident refers to the disappearance of nine skiers in the Ural mountains in 1959. When an expected message from the group of experienced skiers did not arrive, search and rescue went after them. They were found dead, in various stated of undress (in below zero temps), with tents ripped open from the inside, and some had fatal wounds that could not be explained. Several of them left the camp barefoot, and radiation in the area was unusually high. Their deaths have never been explained. Really fascinating stuff, and certainly could be the basis for a real life horror. If you’re interested in reading more about this event, I found a good article here.

In the movie Devil’s Pass, Harlin puts his own spin on what might have happened to the original skiers. A group of American college students, interested in the original incident, decide to hike the same path as the party from 1956. As you can imagine, Harlin puts forth his own dramatized theory of what might have taken place in February, 1956. The cast is mostly newcomers, no big-ticket actors, and they do a good job. There’s a good slow burn up to a certain point, after which you have to let go of the “true story” part and just run with it. I had a brief outburst of “WHY??? WHY’D HAVE TO GO THERE???” and then just settled in and enjoyed the end. It was suspenseful, if not believable.

I give it three and a half stars. I had to take one and a half off because of the ending. I would have preferred a plausible idea to what might have happened to the skiers, but on it’s own this is a fun movie.











Tattooed writer with an attitude seeks like minded people who appreciate snark and ink. Or snarky ink.

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