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Himalaya (2024) Review

Himalaya may be a first, a found footage film about the Yeti. We’ve had several about his American cousin Sasquatch, Tahoe Joe and its sequel, The Lost Coast Tapes, Exists and Willow Creek among others. But until now, the Abominable Snowman has been left out in the cold. This tale of an ill-fated and livestreamed 2022 search for the creature finally changes that, however.

Chase Daly (Jesse LeNoir, Sweet Taste of Souls, Adopted in Danger) is in the Himalayas at the home of Doctor Yuma Sato (Akihiro Kitamura, Lion-Girl, Tokyo Vampire Hotel), a researcher determined to prove the existence of the Yeti, or Snow Ghost as the locals call it. Chase, accompanied by the doctor’s wife Taka (Shoko Rice, The Awakening of Emanuelle, Get the Girl) and skeptic Dr. Abigail Frost (Ashley Park, Terror Tales, Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter) will be hosting a live broadcast as Dr. Sato explores a remote cave that may be home to the creature.

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As you might expect, writer/director Brandon Walker (Ghosts of Hiroshima, Stay) leans into the hazards of Dr. Sato’s journey for much of Himalaya’s running time. And there are plenty of them, the cold, the low oxygen levels, a narrow tunnel he has to use to get to the main cave, technical issues with the cameras and other gear, etc. Apart from some blurry dashcam footage, The Snow Ghost remains a phantom for most of the film.

While this isn’t all that different from most other found footage or livestream films, at least it’s more exciting than folk wandering through the woods doing nothing for the first hour of the film. The footage with Dr. Sato is fairly gripping as he deals with the unexpected natural hazards that nearly kill him before he can even reach the cave.

The cutaways to the team’s tech guy JP (Robert Palmer Watkins, Last Three Days, Trapped in the Farmhouse) basically serve to reinforce how risky the whole thing is. We hear about Sato’s elevated heart rate, weather conditions, there’s a storm coming of course, how little oxygen is left in his tanks, etc.

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It’s the footage back at the house that ends up being Himalaya’s weak point. Chase is fairly bland as the producer whose willing to risk someone else’s life for ratings, and the fireworks I expected between the two women never really materialize. It’s not boring, the scenes get the information we need to us without turning into dry information dumps, the scenes just lack any real spark.

That might have been prevented by doing more with William Kelly (Tony Gibbons, The House of Screaming Death, Future Lies) whose father disappeared while looking for the cave and Tyler Jens (Andy Gates, Interpreters, The 11th Patient) who encountered the creature while travelling in the area. Both characters had potential to add to the plot, but were barely used.

Himalaya’s last half hour makes up for it, though, as Dr. Sato ends up dealing with something neither he nor anyone else expected. Or possibly it’s just the lack of oxygen causing altitude sickness to set in, but the film’s sudden swerve into the supernatural adds another layer of creepy to the last act.

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While I was a bit underwhelmed by the creature when it finally shows up something the makers seem to have thought might happen, a viewer of the livestream says it looks like a costume bought on Amazon, at least we do get a good look at it. What is more impressive is the ice tunnel and cave, which look quite convincing despite being rather basic sets built in a warehouse and covered in fake snow.

Himalaya is, when all is said and done, a somewhat familiar, but well done found footage/live broadcast thriller. Apart from its subject, it doesn’t offer anything new, but it does deliver plenty of fun.

Ghost Machine Pictures has released Himalaya on Reveel and Wocoo with more Digital Platforms to be added. You can check the director’s Facebook page for announcements.

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Our Score

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