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At first, I had no real interest in this movie, once I noticed it was directed by Renny Harlin. Then I read about the true story this movie is based on and suddenly I was very interested in seeing it. However, I soon lost interest again, once I read that this was more or less a 'modern' update of the story, set in present time, using the found footage concept.

Seriously, using a found footage concept for your horror movie is just about the least creative and least effective thing you can do nowadays. It's all because everything has been done to death already and once you have seen one found footage horror movie, you have basically seen all of them already. 90% of them are constructed in the exact same manner and are as generic and predictable as can be. All suffer from the same weaknesses and problems as well and this movie also can't escape any of these problems.

But having said that, it still is absolutely far from the worst genre movie that I have ever seen. It's actually pretty good for what it is and if you're forced to watch one modern found footage flick, this isn't a bad one to pick. Nothing that's really all that recommendable about it but all things considering, this movie could have been a lot worse.

The movie never gets as creepy or intriguing as the true story it got based on, which all is due to the approach the movie is taking with its story. First of all, instead of letting things take place in 1959, it's a movie about an expeditions of young students, set in modern times, who try to find out what happened over 50 years ago to the group of Russian hikers, who all mysteriously ended up dead. It was a real disappointment for me to find out that rather than focusing on the actual group that ended up dead in 1959, this was going to be a movie about modern 'kids', involving the found footage genre. You would think that the original story would be strong and intriguing enough to base an entire movie around and I still believe the movie would have been a way better one if it indeed did so. In that regard I also really can't understand the film-makers and their decision to take such a different approach.

But oh well. It's just basically a modern found footage flick, like any other that's out there already. That means that it isn't any more worse than the average genre attempt but it also means that it suffers from all of the same problems, which similar modern genre movies often suffer from. Problem with the found footage genre is that you just know that for the first part of the movie nothing 'bad' or scary is going to happen. It's all buildup, when the young students start their investigation and travels through the Russian snowy mountains. You just know that the big 'reveal' isn't going to come, until the movie its final few minutes. You know you first have to muddle through a whole bunch of needless character development and exposition. Needless and pointless, since you never really get to know any of the character in these type of movies anyway and you know that most of the hints that get dropped lead to nothing and nowhere and will also have nothing to do with the eventual outcome of the movie.

But lets focus on some of the good things as well. The movie does indeed become a pretty good one, once things start to go wrong for its main characters. Sometimes the movie is pushing things a bit too far but at least it doesn't make the mistake to not show you anything and the movie actually does have a pretty decent payoff, unlike most other genre movies, that too often have big cop-out endings.

I also liked how the movie tried to incorporate most of the theories hat exists about the deaths of the Russian hikers in this movie its story. It gives a nice and creative spin on things and besides provides the movie with plenty of variety and creativity.

A decent enough found footage flick, in my opinion.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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