The Dyatlov Pass Incident is (apparently, struzegod) a genu-ine incident that took place in Soviet Russia in 1959. After ascending onto Dead Mountain (I kid you not), a group of highly experienced Russian hikers appear to have been so freakin’ terrified by something that they burst out through their tents and ran off into the snowy slopes half naked, where they froze to death. The reason for the collective night-terror is still unresolved, and conspiracy theories abound. (UFOs? Yeti? Radiation Sickness? Strange Lights?)
This movie (called Devil’s Pass in the US) takes as it’s core a group of American university students trekking out to the site of the original mystery to record a documentary and hopefully to solve the tall tale once and for all. But, no sooner have we been introduced to our protagonists, the movie cuts to Russian news footage of their bodies being found on the same mountainside in equally bizarre circumstances. Only the footage found on their camera gives a clue to what happened. And it ain’t pretty.
It’s daft really, but it plays out with just enough zing and a couple of twists to be enjoyable. Although the characters themselves are woefully unprepared – I’d think a lifelong obsession of a Russian mystery might make you want to learn a word or two of Russian, but that’s just me – the scenery is great (it actually filmed in Russia) and the tension builds nicely. I’m not sure I actually understood any of it, but whatever. It’s not going to break any box office records, this, but if you’ve got a spare evening, it wouldn’t be the worst way to spend 90 minutes.