"I kept thinking I'd see Abbott and Costello enter the frame any second."
So you thought only Hollywood could make a bad Mummy movie? Guess again, the croissant-eaters have pulled off a real crapper here.So an Egyptian mummy is dug up and dragged back to the Louvre in Paris for display. Mysteriously, nearly the entire crew of the ship that carries it ends up dead. Years later the Frenchies give the mummy a CAT scan and things start to happen. Egyptian treasures begin to disappear from around the museum, the power dies, people die, everyone gets scared, hokey effects, the end.
Screenwriting – terrible.
Premise – been done to death.
Acting – passable at best.
Special effects – a joke.
Sure, you don’t need to create a modern day masterpiece to put out an effective mummy movie, but you might want a little bit more than what’s on display here. A consistent directorial style would help, French TV movie director Jean-Paul Salomé almost seems to be experimenting as he goes.
Based on a serialized novel by author Arthur Bernede made famous in the 1920s (and done far better as a feature film and TV series in the 60’s), this adaptation seems more intent on ripping off The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser version) than the source material. It starts at a frantic pace but quickly slows down to a crawl that it never gets out of before the end of the film.
The end of the film is far from the climactic finale we’re used to from big budget thrillers – here things end so quickly and unexpectedly (and easily) that if you looked down to scratch your nuts for a second, you’d likely miss it.
The cast, led by Sophie Marcea, Michel Serrault, Julie Christie and Frederic Diefenthal, all recite their lines and emote their emotions as required, but the lines are so hokey and the humor so strained that they all come out looking beat down by the end. Certainly Belphegor is a good looking film, though how could it be anything less with Paris as a backdrop, but aesthetics is about where the film’s qualities end.Ultimately, it’s somewhat reassuring to know that the French, with their great disparagement of all things American, can still botch up a film with the worst Hollywood has to offer. If only to see what a crappy monster film looks like on the other side of the world (and as an excuse to see Sophie Marceau’s booty), Belphegor is worth a rental. Just not a very expensive one.