I am not sure why I am reviewing a rather unpopular movie 7 years after its release for probably only 2 people to read, but its quarantine and life is boring, so alas. I suppose another reason why I want to write this is because, despite a generally poor reception from critics, the majority of users on this website are treating this movie as if its an underappreciated gem of horror which I find kind of ridiculous. So here is my two cents of why most critics are justified in calling out this movie as a misfire.
To give credit where its due, there are some well done aspects of this movie. For instance, I was never bored or uninterested in the what was happening, so its relatively engaging. The movie was also well-shot for the most part and I enjoyed a lot of the scenery. The movie is surprisingly subtle with its scares sometimes, with creatures sometimes barely being seen lurking in the background ('The Descent' is a horror movie that does this better, but it is still something to appreciate). Additionally, there was actually some good tension building towards the end (albeit, leading up to an ultimately disappointing conclusion).
Now for the bad....First off, none of the characters are well-written, likable, or even really developed at all - making you not care about what ends up happening to them. Our two main characters (Holly and Jensen) are motivated to take on this expedition as they show great interest in the Dyatlov mystery, which makes enough sense, but the other characters' explanations for tagging along are rather silly. Two of the other guys are supposed to be the experienced climbers, but often act out of emotion and nothing they do sets them apart from being more 'experienced' than the others. The other girl is supposed to be their 'sound person' for their documentary but isn't shown to do anything besides holding a boom mic in the first scene. I mean, yeah, the boom mic awkwardly sticks out of her backpack during the beginning parts of their trip, but later she isn't shown doing anything related to sound at all - it's like the movie forgot her entire purpose.
None of the characters were performed well, making much of their cheesy dialogue hard to watch and the emotional scenes come across as unfortunately laughable. Such examples of this poor dialogue include a scene where Holly ( very unconvincingly) sobs about a dream where a "door of darkness" swallows her, hmmmm......okay. Or when Holly tells sound girl "I would never put you in danger!", despite the fact that she has orchestrated for a largely inexperienced group of students to traverse a notoriously deadly mountain....yikes!
After a couple of people die, they end up in some secret military bunker and make some shocking discoveries. The two leads eventually come face-to-face with some horribly computer-generated teleporting monsters that kill their injured friend. Holly and Jensen end up trapped in a cave with a portal that has supernatural properties, teleporting them back to 1959 - the date of the initial Dyatlov incident. Their bodies are dragged back inside the bunker by military people (along with their camera), and they are left on hooks, where they are shown to have to turned into the same mutated monsters that were pursuing them earlier. While this twist is admittedly intriguing, it ultimately asks more questions than it answers, and in turn, the entire movie makes less sense the more you think about it.
The movie is essentially saying that this portal has created a time loop in which the two main leads are turned into creatures and sent back to 1959, in which they (in their creature form) will eventually chase 2013 (regular) Holly and Jensen back to the portal room where they will turn themselves into creatures, repeating the cycle. But how would this cycle even start? Them walking into the portal and turning into creatures would have to be first 'event' to happen in this loop. But the only reason that the Holly and Jensen even end up locked in the portal cave is because the creature versions of themselves chased them into it. So there would be no reason for them to walk through the portal and 'start' the cycle, since nothing would be chasing them the first time? Idk, maybe I am making no sense, but I feel like it is more so that the ending makes no sense and trying to apply logic to it doesn't work.
There are several other logical errors throughout the film. For instance, the camcorder teleports with Holly and Jensen to where the military people find their bodies in 1959, and the military people bring the camcorder back down into the bunker with the bodies. The military people explicitly comment on "how weird and different their clothes" are, which makes sense, but they make absolutely NO comment on the extremely modern camcorder???? You would think one of them would be a little shocked by this very sophisticated recording technology, especially considering they are holding it. Also the 1959 people set the camcorder down on the table, where the 2013 characters find it and review the footage. But what I am wondering is over the course of 50+ years from when it was put down, how this camcorder has any battery left, but whatever maybe that's a nitpick.
Anyway, I applaud anyone who actually read this overly long, unnecessarily thorough review about a movie that no one even cares about anymore! Thank you, goodbye!
Review by Brc123 from the Internet Movie Database.