The director of Die Hard 2 tries his hand at a "found footage" film -- that is, the mainstream equivalent of internet porno -- reminding us only of our own shortsightedness in the face of a copy-cat industry in ever embracing the novelty that started it all, The Blair Witch Project. This film is ostensibly about the Dyatlov Pass Incident: early in 1959, nine Russian skiers hiked into the Ural Mountains where one night, for reasons no one has been able to explain, they ripped out of their tent and scattered down the side of a mountain, ultimately freezing to death. In Renny Harlin's film, scripted (or scribbled) by Vikram Weet, five Oregon college students attempt to recreate the path of the Dyatlov party, intent on solving the mystery. It's a clever set up, but all plausibility ends there, as Harlin and Weet, not content to tell the story of a Russian tragedy, tie it all up with other mysteries all over the world, including, significantly, one of America's sillier conspiracy theories (which they proceed to dumb down even further). With lots of the usual spastic camera work, whole passages in complete darkness, and characters we couldn't care less about (which includes the leader of the expedition, a woman so unbelievably ignorant she tries to pass off human-looking footprints as those of a tiger). See also the Keith McCloskey book Mountain of the Dead.
Books. Movies. Mostly.