The Mummy is the start of Dark Universe bringing its stories to the big screen trying to catch up with Marvel and DC. For their first attempt they’ve recounted the story of Ahmanet, an Egyptian daughter destined to become queen until her father had a son who was destined to be the heir as a result. Infuriated, just like that, Ahmanet sends a prayer to Seth, the Egyptian god of death. One thing leads to another, and she ends up buried alive, and is found thousands of years later when it is discovered by a careless adventurer named Nick (played by Cruise) a lady he stole from, Jenny, and the third wheel, Phil. This discovery tampers with her spirit, and reignites a curse Nick can’t escape from, so he’ll have to go in and fight something that not only he doesn’t understand, but blithely desires him.
The movie begins very promising and anything but mellowed. We end up witnessing a goddess mummified and buried alive. We even see the coffin shut. That gave me chills because I’ve done my homework on getting buried alive. The claustrophobia spikes up like a rocket, you suffocate in your own hot air, there’s no way to escape your prison, no one will hear your struggling…it’s basically drowning in quicksand.
Also, Sofia Boutella, the kick-ass claw beast in most of her films, like Kingsman and Star Trek: Beyond, is a great choice as Ahmanet. She’s like a cobra attempting and succeeding at creating hesitation because of her glamour before she strikes, and the costume designers and effect artists have a lot to brag about making her how she is.
What I think makes a horror movie good is its ability to make a character seem doomed, mixed with a creepy and terrifying setting and The Mummy has some of that knowledge in its script. It has spiders, rats and like Split, a character with different personalities. There’s also a plane crash scene and it was one of the best shot action scenes I’ve seen in maybe months. Never did I think the characters were just on lines in order to float and when a hole gets blown in the plane, I kept thinking about how the wings might end up catching and slicing the characters in half, without it having to actually show it.
Now for the cons. I watched this movie kind of feeling like I’d already seen it, and there are things in the story that kind of don’t make sense. For instance, there’s a priceless artifact that plays a part in this movie that is hidden away and isn’t found for a while, but I felt like a particular character would be well aware of where it is and yet for some reason even when she showed up early on it stayed there. And Nick often does inexplainable choices, such as why he wouldn’t want backup called when he and Phil are being surrounded by Iraq mercenaries, or why he would drive off without Jenny. Not only that, but sometimes the transitions don’t make much sense, such as how Nick got to a certain place and Jenny shows up too, while he’s the, ahem, troubled one. And when he and Jenny get trapped, I thought, “Wasn’t there an exit they just smashed through ten seconds ago? Where is it now?” Plus, our heores once or twice feel sympathy for Ahmanet despite the fact she tried to kill them. Oh, and Phil ends up being a character that tries to blend weirdness and comedy, and it doesn’t work for me. So I guess it’s not a subtle point I’m making, is it? There are a lot of inconsistencies in the film.
But I’m not going to be any harsher on the film because it’s just a lot of fun, telling a story not too cluttered that we become lost, it was never tedious, and I cared about what would happen to these guys I just met. Perhaps the last thing is because horror movies tend to kill off most of their characters, but as a result, the suspense was higher by default. And it’s hard for me to hate a movie that I hope has a sequel in the future. There’s definitely more to explore.
The Mummy is not spectacular like the Captain America films, but it’s not as awful as Batman v. Superman, and I had a more fun time with it than most of the other poorly reviewed films of 2017 so far.