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The film was originally titled ‘The Dyatlov Pass Incident,’ but changed to ‘Devil’s Pass

The film was originally titled 'The Dyatlov Pass Incident,' but changed to 'Devil's Pass

The film, originally titled ‘The Dyatlov Pass Incident,’ was renamed ‘Devil’s Pass’

But Netflix is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to goooooo. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Disclaimer: Funkhouser does not condone the creeping in ‘Let it Snow’ or ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside.’ Let the girl go home to her cats. And don’t think I forgot about you ‘Santa Baby’–there’s a Mrs. Claus ya know.

The Bluegrass State transformed into the Svalbard overnight, and if the Alabama Sugar Bowl doesn’t seem so appealing, then you’re stuck watching reruns and advertisements, and who wants to pay $5 to rent a movie on your Apple TV? (seriously iTunes, that’s outrageous)

Never fear, for Netflix Instant is here. If you’re like me, you can spend approximately 4 hours with your friends or significant other scrolling through the garbage to find something new and remotely watchable. Do not give into the temptation of watching Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives (it is NOT Drive,) but how about a decent, somewhat thoughtful horror flick?

As one of the stronger genres in the Instant arsenal, I’ve watched just about everything, so when something new crops up I am happier than a warthog and a meerkat finding love. The 1979 classic and its sequels, Amityville Horror (Ryan Reynolds free,) was just added to Netflix, but if you want something fresh to curl up to, your best bet is Devil’s Pass.

IFC put out a unique, eclectic, and high-caliber collection of movies of 2013–Blue is the Warmest Color, Maniac, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Room 237, Crystal Fairy, and Frances Ha are among them. Three of the IFC films, Maniac, Room 237, and Frances Ha are conveniently on Netflix Instant; Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is at Redbox.

Watching Elijah Wood stab and dismember women in Maniac was trau-ma-tizing, but its first-person view into the mind of a serial killer makes it worth suffering through; if you want a tamer horror thrill that your wife or teenager could sit through, check out Devil’s Pass.

While it’s gotten rather poor reviews, I’m a movie realist–it’s important to temper my expectations from film to film. I certainly wasn’t expecting an emotional experience when my friend and I chose Devil’s Pass as our “bad movie night” selection (last week’s–Wolverine,) but the story of five University of Oregon students recreating the Dyatlov Pass Incident, was a pleasant surprise for me.

The film is about (fictional) American students who set out to make a documentary, exploring the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of nine Russian hikers in the Ural Mountains in February of 1959–now known as The Dyatlov Pass Incident.

The original group of Russian 20-somethings hike/skiing through the Ural Mountains was found dead when investigators discovered their corpses, barefoot, despite temperatures of âˆ’22 °F; it appeared as though the hikers had torn open their tents from within, and were fleeing from something.

None of the victims showed external signs of a struggle, but two had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and the one woman of the group, was missing her tongue and eyes.

Now I LOVE a good history mystery/conspiracy, no matter how ridiculous, and this story is certainly tantalizing enough without the modern day horror twist.

Igor Dyatlov, leader of the 1959 expedition

Igor Dyatlov, leader of the 1959 expedition

Did the original Dyatlov Pass victims die in a Russian military cover-up? Aliens? Yetis? A mystic native ritual? A horrific experiment gone wrong? Or did they fall victim to something simpler such as hypothermic psychosis causing the hikers to flee their tents in the night–barefoot, in sub-zero temperatures?

But what can explain the violent injuries!? WHAT!!?

Devil’s Pass is a flawed movie–the acting is a bit cheesy, the “reveal” that every horror film struggles with (so many go downhill F-A-S-T once the audience can see what bumps in the night) is a bit outlandish, but I would still call this movie a win for indie horror.

I enjoyed this film for a history lesson through the eyes of a conspiracy theorist on not only the fascinating Dyatlov Pass Incident, but similar unsolved mysterious around the world.

The outcome of the film was rather satisfyingly ridiculous for a horror fan as well; Devil’s Pass is in the vein of the popular, well-received 2012 film, Cabin in the Woods–though not to quite as extraordinary a degree.

So if you’re bundled up inside on these first cold nights of 2014, check out this surprising, “good-bad” horror mystery.

And c’mon, Devil’s Pass is “about” Russia. There is no more fascinating state for a conspiracy theorist or history nerd than Россия.

Rasputin was a Romanov brain-washing sorcerer, Anastasia has to be someone’s cafeteria lady, and the Cold War will never ever be over. #RussiaFacts

If you think Devil’s Pass sucks, tweet at me–I can take it.

[Devil’s Pass trailer (the twists may be better if you don’t watch it)]

Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR