Late last year, moviegoers followed Dr. Holden and his collegues into the ancient corridors of a cursed tomb in Grégory Levasseur's The Pyramid, now available to watch on Digital HD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, with a Blu-ray and DVD release slated for May 5th. With viewers now able to explore the creepy confines of The Pyramid from the comfort of their couches, we caught up with Levasseur to discuss intertwining horror with Ancient Egyptian culture, revisiting The Hills Have Eyes shooting location, filming in tight spaces, and much more.

Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us, Grégory. Ancient Egyptian culture is interwoven throughout The Pyramid and plays a big role in the onscreen scares. Were you interested in that era of history prior to directing the film?

Grégory Levasseur: I'm interested in history in general, but my Egyptian knowledges were pretty limited, in fact. That's why I was intrigued the first time I read the script, I wanted to discover something, to learn more about this mythology. The great thing with Ancient Egypt is that lots of mysteries remain unknown. I think it's a great field for stories. You can play around and take many different directions. When I started to do some research, I realized the mythology couldn't be too elaborated. I didn't want to lose people so I quickly decided to use the carvings or the hieroglyphs I had in mind prior to reading the script and use the research to make this idea believable and accurate.

Much of The Pyramid takes place in a tomb where, at times, the confines become claustrophobic for the characters and viewers alike, adding tension to an already scary scenario. What was your experience shooting in that unique environment and was there a favorite nook or cranny you explored while filming?

Grégory Levasseur: It was exhausting but a great experience. I had an awesome crew completely dedicated to the movie. Marco Trentini, the production designer, did an incredible job by building the whole pyramid from scratch. He was very supportive to my vision and gave his best to achieve a tremendous set considering the budget we had. He was also very supportive of the idea to illuminate the set with only the characters' flashlights. The DOP Laurent Tangy did a wonderful job, too. Most of the places were pretty narrow and he didn't have a lot of room to operate or illuminate. If I have to choose my favorite set I would say the burial chamber where the whole finale takes place. We almost shot in order and it was very nice to finish in a more comfortable, open space. Everybody was kind of tired of eating dust in small corridors or being suspended inside shafts.

You’re a frequent collaborator and longtime friend of Alexandre Aja, with whom you’ve written the screenplays for Haute Tension, P2, 2012’s Maniac, and other films. You’ve also worked as a second unit director on Aja’s Mirrors and Piranha 3D, among other movies. How helpful was it to have those experiences under your belt prior to making your directorial debut?

Grégory Levasseur: Indeed, I did lots of second unit and was always very close to Alex at every moment of production, so I was kind of ready and knew all the problems you can face during shooting. It's good to have those experiences because they allow you to prep the movie well and avoid lots of mistakes. Even better, we did The Pyramid in Ouarzazate, Morocco, the same place where we shot The Hills Have Eyes. To be back on the same location in the same sound stages, I had the feeling that I've always been trained for it.

The Pyramid has an adventurous, “dirt under your fingernails” exploration spirit to it. Were there any films, TV shows, comic books, video games or novels from the horror genre or other genres that inspired you while creating the film’s fun yet dangerous atmosphere?

Grégory Levasseur: We often said with the producers that this movie was a mix between Indiana Jones and The Descent. During the shooting, we referred most of the time to these movies. There are lots of others inspirations, but you know sometimes you don't even realize what kind of books or films inspired you at the moment and afterwards people find a reference to a movie and ask if you did it on purpose, when you never thought about it. Then you realize you were unconsciously influenced by this film.

The Pyramid takes place in a thrilling, storied setting: a booby-trapped tomb where something sinister stalks the shadows. How did you approach mixing the modern technology of the found footage sub-genre with the ancient setting of The Pyramid?

Grégory Levasseur: The script was written as found footage but I didn't want to make the movie like this. The idea was to start as a documentary from History Channel and as the characters go inside and get trapped, we slowly move to a more traditional genre movie. The commando, or war reporter, aspect was important because it was a good way to set up the story and live the experience with the characters. Furthermore, it allows you to shoot very fast without compromising the production design, the action scenes or the visual effects.

With Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment releasing The Pyramid to Digital HD on April 17th and on Blu-ray and DVD on May 5th, what projects do you have on deck?

Grégory Levasseur: Right now I'm working on a screenplay with Alex Aja, it's another scary movie which could be my next project. Different from The Pyramid, it's a more intimate story which deals with some supernatural elements.


To watch The Pyramid on Digital HD, visit:

From 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, The Pyramid hits Blu-ray and DVD on May 5th and is now available to watch on Digital HD:

Synopsis: "The age-old wonders of the world have long cursed explorers who’ve dared to unlock their mysteries. But a team of archaeologists gets more than they bargained for when they discover a lost pyramid unlike any other in the Egyptian desert. As they begin to uncover its horrifying secrets, they realize they’re being relentlessly hunted by an ancient evil more nightmarish than anything they could have imagined. From producer Alexandre Aja, director of The Hills Have Eyes, comes a pulse-pounding journey into true terror."

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • New Extended Ending!
  • “Partners”
  • “Fear”
  • “Space Archaeology”
  • “Egyptian Myths”
  • Image Gallery

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.