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The career of Renny Harlin is summed up almost perfectly in the way he is still referred to as “The director of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger,” even though it’s been 20 years since either of those movies came out. We haven’t even talked about him on this site since 12 Rounds came out in 2009. Another sign that his relevancy has slipped away is his latest movie, formerly called Dyatlov Pass Incident, which was released months ago overseas with barely a blip on the radar in the U.S. outside of horror websites. But that film is now coming to America, and it's coming surprisingly quickly. Dread Central has delivered a new trailer, a new poster and a release date - oh, and it’s called Devil’s Pass now (since apparently referring to locations by their original attributed names is too confusing).
An obvious attempt to cash in on the low-budget found-footage craze, Harlin has crafted a film that has the potential to be a pretty freaky flick. He uses one of the most mysteriously unexplainable events in modern history as a backdrop, centering on a group of nine experienced ski hikers led by Igor Dyatlov who trekked through the Ural mountains in 1959 only to never be seen alive again. Diaries and cameras suggest the group had to stop their progress to try and avoid a worsening snowstorm hitting the area. When weeks passed without communication, searchers were sent out to look for the lost crew, and that's when the first five bodies were found. The other four took another two months to locate. There didn’t appear to be any foul play involved, but some were in various states of undress, suggesting a mental break due to hypothermia. So yeah, it was probably just an avalanche that confused everyone and got them separated from the camp that they never made it back to. But strange theories still persist.
Enter Harlin, who doesn’t really attempt to answer what happened back then. Instead he gives us a brand new set of characters try to figure out the mystery. The cast, made up of lesser-known actors such as Gemma Atkinson, Matt Stokoe, Richard Reid, Luke Albright and Holly Goss, all try and retrace the path of the original hikers, only to meet up with what looks like actual devils hidden somewhere in or around the mountains. There’s a huge man-made tunnel seen in the trailer that has absolutely no right to be out there, unless monsters created it, of course. I mean honestly, just trying to survive during an avalanche is frightening enough without the long-fingernailed bat-looking creatures. But then it wouldn’t be a Renny Harlin movie, would it?
IFC Midnight has set the Devil’s Pass release date for August 23rd, where it will make a limited theatrical fun while simultaneously hitting the VOD market. Will you be seeing it?
Check out a few of the film’s posters below, and for a quick realistic background on the original event, give a listen to this episode of the Skeptoid podcast, where host Brian Dunning cuts out all the nonsense.