Harlin and his crew spent nearly two weeks on location in Kirovsk and the surrounding Khibiny mountains.
The film is about one of the unsolved mysteries in the world – the death of nine Russian ski hikers in the eastern Ural mountains in 1959. The incident took place in February, as a group of young adventurers attempted to cross a perilous pass on skis. Seven men and two women, most of them students and graduates of the Ural Polytechnic Institute, were found dead on the east shoulder of the mountain Kholat Syakhi. In the local Mansi tongue, this means “Mountain of the Dead”.
“I was fascinated by this story, which remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern paranormal lore. The facts, the script and the very dramatic setting convinced me that there is a thrilling movie there, just waiting to rivet audiences,” Harlin said according to Screen Daily.
The mountain pass where the incident occurred has since been named Dyatlov Pass after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov. The lack of eyewitnesses has inspired much speculation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths. The chronology of the incident remains unclear due to the lack of survivors. Investigators at the time determined that the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot into heavy snow and a temperature of -30°C. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, two victims had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. Their clothing, when tested, was found to be highly radioactive.
Renny Harlin’s film is supposedly going to a modern day investigation of the event that happened in 1959. The film’s producer, Russia’s leading industry film player Aleksandr Rodnyansky says that the action adventure from Harlin will revolve around a group of American students trying to untangle the obscure fatal incident of 50 years ago, RT reported.
Renny Harlin is the most successful Finnish film director in the history of Hollywood. He has directed blockbusters as Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and The Long Kiss Goodnight.