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Bram Stoker's The Mummy   D+

Ardustry Home Entertainment

Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jeffrey Obrow
Writer: Jeffrey Obrow (based on the novel The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker)
Cast: Louis Gossett Jr., Amy Locane, Eric Lutes, Mark Lindsay-Chapman, Richard Karn, Lloyd Bockner, Victoria Tennant.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Like Hammer's Blood from the Mummy's Tomb and The Awakening before it, Bram Stoker's The Mummy is based on Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars. I haven't seen the previous adaptations, but I can't imagine either of them being as bad as this plodding, lifeless bore -- a limp supernatural slasher that plays out against the backdrop of a stuffy drawing-room melodrama. The story unfolds at a San Francisco mansion where Margaret Trelawny (Amy Locane) and her ex-boyfriend (Eric Lutes) try to figure out why her Egyptologist father has suddenly lapsed into a coma, bearing seven bloody slashes on his arm. All while the houseguests are slowly dispatched by the title monster, an ancient Egyptian princess hungry for a second life. Halfway through, Oscar-winner Louis Gossett Jr. shows up as the elder Trelawny's possibly-crazy old friend and colleague -- naturally, the only person who knows what's going on and how to stop it.

A few early, wonderfully foreboding touches -- including a servant girl's hallucinations of blood dripping down a door -- are never built upon, and the film's soap-opera visual aesthetic does nothing to give the proceedings any atmosphere. What we're left with, then, is a cast of second-rate TV actors struggling to look like they care. Locane, in particular, is such an emotional zombie that Margaret's struggle with daddy issues barely registers, and there's hardly any difference in her personality when she becomes possessed by the mummy's spirit. Gossett, at least, goes amusingly over the top (especially in the silly climactic resurrection ritual), but he's not quite enough to push the film into mildly entertaining B-movie territory. No, this one's far too dull for that. As such, it's not bad enough to be unintentionally funny, except maybe in the way that characters thought to be dead show up later alive and well, with only a few scratches. There's not enough sex or violence to satisfy the exploitation crowd, and it's too cheap, dumb, and boring to work as the classy, suspenseful horror melodrama that writer-director Jeffrey Obrow seems to be going for. From every conceivable angle, Bram Stoker's The Mummy is a tedious failure.

Review published 10.31.2004.

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