A team of archaeologists descending into a cursed Egyptian tomb isn’t the lamest idea for a cheapo horror flick. But director Gregory Levasseur, who’s better known in the genre circles as the writer of High Tension and Piranha 3-D, does everything in his power to turn The Pyramid into a shoddy hash of inept camerawork, lousy acting, and cheesy monsters.
Not that it particularly matters, but the movie is set in August of 2013, as the streets of Cairo are mobbed by angry Egyptian protesters. Meanwhile, not far away, Dr. Miles Holden (a slumming Denis O’Hare) and Nora Holden (Ashley Hinshaw), a father-daughter duo of mummy diggers, stumble upon a 600-foot, three-sided pyramid mysteriously buried in the desert. Chronicling their discovery is a documentary team (James Buckley and Christa Nicola), who conveniently give the film its excuse to be the latest found-footage nausea-fest. Also on board are a hunky, Arabic-speaking computer whiz (Amir K) and his pricey toy: a tiny Mars Rover-like robot nicknamed ”Shorty.”
As the chaos of revolution gets a bit too close to their find, the team is told by the Egyptian authorities that they have to pack up their pith helmets and leave. But these tomb raiders won’t be deterred that easily, what with fame and fortune on the line. After sending Shorty trundling into the pyramid to explore its labyrinthine passageways, they lose contact. And since the pint-sized Short Circuit wannabe cost $3 million, they decide to intrepidly go in and retrieve it and…you know, poke around a little. It’s the first of many bad ideas.
Once inside, Dr. Holden deciphers some dire hieroglyphic warnings that auger the inevitable bloodbath on tap. You don’t care who dies and who lives since we barely know what makes any of these cartoon adventure-seekers tick (the film’s idea of character development is having Shorty film Nora taking off her bra in her tent). What they find inside the dark bowels of the pyramid isn’t particularly interesting—it certainly wouldn’t make Tut discoverer Howard Carter very envious. But then they find Shorty’s violently disemboweled computer parts lying on the tomb’s floor. They suspect that they’re not alone and that their parts will soon end up in a heap next to Shorty’s. Let the bodycount begin…
The Pyramid is pretty much your typical herky-jerky camcorder chiller (a trend that really needs to be put out of its misery and sealed in a sarcophagus). And a certain amount of credit has to be given to any movie that’s this unambitious, but still manages to namecheck the pharaoh Akhenaten. But what little suspense there is comes cloaked in almost complete darkness. Which is probably for the best. Because when the film’s ancient Egyptian creature finally does show up, it’s so phony looking it makes SyFy’s Sharktopus look like the handiwork of Stan Winston. If you’re looking for cheap scares and have 90 minutes to kill, you could do worse than The Pyramid. But not a lot worse. D+