Devil's Pass

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Devil's Pass
Devil's Pass.jpg
Directed by Renny Harlin
Produced by Alexander Rodnyansky
Sergei Bespalov
Sergey Melkumov
Renny Harlin
Kia Jam
Written by Vikram Weet
Starring Holly Goss
Matt Stokoe
Luke Albright
Ryan Hawley
Gemma Atkinson
Music by Yuri Poteyenko
Cinematography Denis Alarcon Ramirez
Edited by Steven Mirkovich
Aldamisa Entertainment
Alexander Rodnyansky
Non-Stop Productions
Midnight Sun Pictures
K. Jam Media
Distributed by IFC Films (USA)
Release date(s)
  • August 23, 2013 (2013-08-23)[1]
Running time 96 minutes[2]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Devil's Pass (originally titled The Dyatlov Pass Incident) is a 2013 UK-Russian[3] horror film directed by Renny Harlin, written by Vikram Weet, and starring Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley, and Gemma Atkinson as Americans who investigate the Dyatlov Pass incident. It is shot in the style of found footage.


Five college students set off to find out what happened to the nine skiers who mysteriously died in the Dyatlov Pass incident. Holly and Jensen are co-directors, J. P. and Andy are expert climbers, and Denise is the sound engineer. After the film introduces the characters, Russian-language news discusses the students' disappearance. The Russian government recovers video footage but refuses to release it to the public; hackers release the footage, which forms the rest of the film.

In Russia, the students first try to contact a member of the initial expedition who turned back after the first day. However, the man has been hospitalized following a nervous breakdown. The administrators at the hospital claim that he is dead and attempt to turn away the filmmakers. In an upstairs window, the students see a man they assume to be the survivor; he holds up a sign in Russian and is dragged away by orderlies. At a bar, the students recruit Sergei, who translates the sign as a warning to turn back. Undeterred, Sergei introduces them to his aunt, Alya, who was part of the original rescue team. She tells them that a machine and eleven bodies were found at the site, not nine, as is commonly reported. The final two bodies had something wrong with them.

At their camp site, Holly hears howling. The next morning, the group notices barefoot prints in the snow that start and stop suddenly. Jensen claims the footprints are from yeti, but the others claim that Holly is messing with them. After hiking further, they again hear howling and find footprints that lead to a weather tower. Inside the weather tower, they find a human tongue. Denise wants to leave, but the others convince her to continue. Jensen reveals that he heard the howling during a bad acid trip that ended with his yelling incoherently about demons. Holly attempts to comfort Jensen by relating that she has had recurring dreams about Dyatlov Pass, which she interprets as fate. As they talk, two white figures in the background move on the hill and disappear without anyone seeing them.

According to their map, the group arrives at Dyatlov Pass too early. J. P. and Andy are further spooked when their navigational equipment malfunctions. Using a Geiger counter, Holly and Jensen are led to a bunker that locks from the outside. The door is already unlocked but frozen shut; they manage to open the door. They return to the camp without telling anyone about the bunker. The next morning, the group wakes to explosions that cause an avalanche. Denise is killed, and Andy suffers a bad fracture. After they fire a flare, Russian soldiers arrive, kill Andy, and chase the survivors to the bunker. J. P. is shot as they enter, so Holly and Jensen leave him as they explore the bunker. Inside, they discover evidence of teleportation experiments, a dead soldier who is missing his tongue, a camcorder that has footage of their present conversation, and dead bodies stacked in a pile.

J. P. screams, and Jensen and Holly find him under attack by teleporting mutants. The mutants kill J. P. and chase Jensen and Holly into a sealed room. There, Jensen theorizes the tunnel that leads further into a natural cave is a wormhole. Unwilling to starve to death or face the mutants, Jensen and Holly choose to step into the wormhole. Since there are no controls, Jensen suggests that they visualize a nearby destination. Holly suggests the bunker entrance, and they enter the wormhole. In the next scene, the Russian military in 1959 discover two bodies, recover a camcorder, turn away Sergei's aunt Alya, and hang the bodies on meat hooks inside the bunker, which is fully operational and manned. In the final shot, the bodies are revealed to be Holly and Jensen, transformed into mutants.


  • Holly Goss as Holly King, co-director
  • Matt Stokoe as Jensen Day, co-director and conspiracy theorist
  • Luke Albright as J. P. Hauser, Jr., expert climber
  • Ryan Hawley as Andy Thatcher, expert climber
  • Gemma Atkinson as Denise Evers, audio engineer
  • Nikolay Butenin as Sergei
  • Nelly Nielsen as Alya, age 73
  • Valeriy Fedorovich as Alya, age 20


Director Renny Harlin spent time in Moscow researching the government archives. His own theory of what happened at the Dyatlov Pass incident is that a government experiment went wrong. The casting for the film was intentionally kept to unknowns. Shooting took place in northern Russia, and each scene was rehearsed extensively.[4]


Devil's Pass was released August 23, 2013.[1] It was released on DVD in the UK August 26, 2013.[5] It was released on DVD in the US December 17, 2013.[6]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 53% of 19 surveyed critics gave it a positive review; the average rating was 4.9/10.[7] Metacritic rated it 49/100.[8] Miriam Bale of The New York Times called the film "an upgraded Blair Witch Project" that is hilarious, though it is not clear whether this is intentional or not.[9] Scott Foundas of Variety called it unoriginal yet watchable.[3] SFX rated it 2/5 stars and called it "a scare-free thriller" with an underwhelming twist.[10] Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg of Twitch Film called for a moratorium on found footage films and stated that the film should have been about the real-life incident.[11] Mark Adams of Screen Daily called it "shrewdly constructed" and "smartly made".[12] Philip French of The Guardian wrote that it "adds nothing to a real-life mystery from the Soviet era" and that the explanation is too outlandish.[13] Bloody Disgusting rated the film 3/5 stars and recommended the film to enthusiasts of the real-life event but warned that the generic story would probably not excite people tired of found footage films.[14] Gareth Jones of Dread Central rated it 3.5/5 stars and called it "a thoroughly intriguing mash-up of sci-fi, horror and real-life mystery."[15] Matt Glasby of Total Film rated it 3/5 stars and called a cheesy midnight movie that requires a forgiving audience.[16] Owen Williams of Empire called it a "smartly-executed" film with a "satisfyingly circular conclusion".[17] Nigel Floyd of Time Out London rated it 2/5 stars and wrote that the film becomes more unbelievable and silly as time goes on.[18] Scott Weinberg of Fearnet called it a "simple but crafty little horror tale" with a payoff that can "come off as ridiculous or novel".[19] Chris Holt of Starburst rated it 7/10 stars and wrote that it is "a fascinating and gripping film that despite being fundamentally flawed, is well worth your time."[20]


  1. ^ a b Turek, Ryan (2013-08-06). "Renny Harlin’s Dyatlov Pass Incident Now Devil’s Pass, See It This Month". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  2. ^ "THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT (2013)". BBFC. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  3. ^ a b Foundas, Scott (2013-08-23). "Film Review: 'Devil's Pass'". Variety. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  4. ^ Wixson, Heather (2013-08-27). "Exclusive: Filmmaker Renny Harlin Takes Us Through Devil's Pass and More". Dread Central. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  5. ^ Jones, Gareth (2013-08-24). "CONTEST CLOSED! UK Readers: Win The Dyatlov Pass Incident on DVD!". Dread Central. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  6. ^ Spring, Mike (2013-12-17). "What’s new & noteworthy on DVD & Blu-ray – December 17, 2013". Times Union. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  7. ^ "Devil's Pass". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  8. ^ "Devil's Pass". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  9. ^ Bale, Miriam (2013-08-22). "Fools Rush In, With Camera". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  10. ^ "The Dyatlov Pass Incident REVIEW". SFX. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  11. ^ Rowan-Legg, Shelagh M. (2013-08-23). "Frightfest 2013 Review: Renny Harlin's THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT Is A Pass". Twitch Film. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  12. ^ Adams, Mark (2013-08-25). "The Dyatlov Pass Incident". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  13. ^ French, Philip (2013-08-24). "The Dyatlov Pass Incident – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  14. ^ "[BD Review] Wolfman Calls 'Devil's Pass' Chilling, Kinda...". Bloody Disgusting. 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  15. ^ Jones, Gareth (2013-08-29). "Dyatlov Pass Incident, The (2013)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  16. ^ Glasby, Matt (2013-08-12). "The Dyatlov Pass Incident". Total Film. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  17. ^ Williams, Owen. "The Dyatlov Pass Incident". Empire. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  18. ^ Floyd, Nigel (2013-08-20). "The Dyatlov Pass Incident (15)". Time Out London. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  19. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2013-08-23). "FEARnet Movie Review: 'Devil's Pass'". Fearnet. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  20. ^ Holt, Chris (2013-07-24). "DVD Review: THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT". Starburst. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 

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