THE PYRAMID (2013)
A hooded figure, almost medieval looking, bound by chains creates this very object in front of our eyes, introducing a macabre feel to the film that will last until the credits roll. This introduction is followed by a set of opening credits that feature various illustrated graphics featuring the cursed pyramid, including an image depicting the ancient Egpytians, indicating that the Pyramid has been around quite a long time, indeed!
We quickly settle into the first episode from writer and director Alex Visani and co-writer Raffaele Ottolenghi. Embracing a Clive Barker vibe, the Pyramid is obtained from a market stall by a reporter who’s covering the town’s festival. Scanning over the trader’s many trinkets, it’s the Pyramid that grabs his attention, almost as if it was calling to him. He pays a substantial amount for item before taking it back to the hotel with his cameraman, where strange things start to ensue. If you love crazy, dark imagery then you’ll love this first episode, named RITUAL. It’s insane, frightening approach will you glued to your seat, eagerly watching to see what happens next, totally ensnared by the power of the Pyramid, much like the characters in the film.
Such a brilliant opening segment had me absolutely gripped. It was a surreal mindfuck, with imagery and sound that would disturb your very soul. Thankfully, it continued into Fabio Salerno’s DREAM DOOR episode where a young woman brings home the Pyramid from work for her artist boyfriend. Despite being inside her bag, the Pyramid drives boyfriend Alex mad, envisioning a bloodythirsty accident. Only afterwards is he introduced to the Pyramid, which begins to consume his day to day life. What is interesting is the sketches which Alex makes – artwork interpreting the visions and past the Pyramid has been responsible for. Like a living, breathing entity, the Pyramid is far from done and continues its path on hellbent destruction of whoever comes into contact with it.
Realising the atrocities that this mere pyramid has committed, the young woman hides the pyramid in the woods. Unfortunately for her and for the human race, the Pyramid doesn’t stay undiscovered for long and the inanimate object appears to be on the hunt for its final human sacrifice needed for the its hidden evil to thrive in all its glory. It’s at this point, in the segment named PESTILENCE, where things turn a bit ‘zombie’. I’m not known for my love of zombie movies and whilst this is a somewhat fresh take on the genre, I felt disappointed that the batshit craziness we’d previously seen was now left behind for some less entertaining scary scenes akin to your usual run-of-the-mill horror.
The action culminates in the final episode, APOCALYPSE, where the Pyramid’s evil has destroyed life as we know it, in Italy at least, and all that has survived is a group of very fortunate and lucky people who are guided by a young priest who informs them that ‘Sheitan’s Key’ must be destroyed before it can birth pure evil itself. The priest has dispatched two of his post-apocalpytic soldiers, armed with a crossbow and katana, to find the Pyramid and destroy it before it obliterates mankind forever. APOCALYPSE, by director Antonio Zannone, notches up the action-adventure horror aspects as the two neo-soldiers must battle the infected to reach the source of the evil. It works well with previous segment Pestilence and concludes the film efficiently, with a nice post-credits teaser, but seems worlds apart from the opening segments.
I’ve mixed views on The Pyramid. The first half I loved, whilst the second didn’t seem to fit my impression of how the film would play out. It’s like the first two episodes belong to one type of movie and the final 2 episodes belong to another. It is definitely a style of two halves, in my opinion, even though the evil of the pyramid is the running theme throughout, uniting all four episodes as one. If you like Hellraiser, you’ll love the first half of the movie, which manages to recreate that utterly disturbing feel that worked so well in Clive Barker’s film, whilst modern zombie-action lovers may thrive more on the latter half. It’s a great effort from Empire Video and has a lot to offer, but somehow just doesn’t completely work as a whole.