Mummies have always been the poor relation when it comes to horror movie monsters.
Ultimately they are simply not very scary. Yet although the world is rich with ancient evil and far more frightening mythology movies seem to constantly return to Egypt (or a Las Vegas desert) to the lost tomb of King whoever and the deadly curse of Tutan-thingamy where we find some stunt double in bandages that wanders around strangling a sexy khaki short wearing doctor with a double D degree in Egyptology.
From the Universal Pictures Mummy movies which formed the basis of the genre to the Hammer horrors with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing to Stephen Sommers late 90’s Egyptian action adventures, Mummy films it seems like their titulature villain are undying yet sadly unlike those classics Day of the Mummy does nothing to revitalizing this everlasting genre.
Day of the Mummy’s gimmick (and by god is it a gimmick) is that it is all filmed in POV. That’s right, the whole thing is viewed from pound shop Indiana Jones clone Jack Wells (William McNamara) perspective. Exciting or what?! (the answer is ‘what’ by the way).
That means you too can feel like you are walking through a very green and plant filled desert with computer generated pyramids somewhere in America, looking for a stone or something.
You too can feel like you are exchanging dialogue only one degree above a porno script with other wooden two dimensional characters.
And you too can walk down cave corridors yelling while lost, desperate for a Mummy to finally appear and kill you and end this awful tedious torment.
POV films can work, as in the case of the amazing Maniac remake. An experimental art house epic slash gore filled slasher movie Maniac put the audience in the killers head forcing them to witness his slayings with no control over what he is doing in many ways, perfectly displaying his inner psychosis and uncontrollable impulses.
Predominantly however, films shot entirely in POV are a bad idea as in the cases of the abysmal sci-fi Shockwave Darkside and here in Day of the Mummy, both of which lack any kind of vision or artistic flair. This makes the use of POV simply look like a sad and desperate attempt to compete with the gaming market.
This also makes the film so much worse, as at least in a game you can control, interact and engage with the environment and people, having some degree of influence over the outcome. Plus you usually get to shot monsters in the head with a bazooka.
In Day of the Mummy you are forced to simply sit and watch like a trapped spirit forced to inhabit the body of a boring cliché action hero, grimacing at every awful line spoken from his mouth, wishing you could take control of his flaccid flaying limbs and run yourself off a cliff.
Directed by Johnny Tabor who is described on his IMBD page as being “a nomad most of his life” whose “passion for art and cinema started before he could walk” Day of the Mummy is so dreary and uninspired at 77 minutes long it is still too long.
The cast do their best and in many ways it’s not their fault they are stuck with such a trite and terrible script filled with such unlikable characters. The worst of all being Andrea Monier’s Kate Alvarez, introduced to us as a tough no-nonsense security expert who 15 minutes later is throwing herself at the sleazy hero and then getting herself kidnapped by racist Egyptian stereotypes, and then the mummy, both times leading to her having to be saved by a man, a truly empowering feminist icon I am sure you will agree.
Oh and did I mention Danny Glover was in the film? Yeah he is, although he only appears waist up in weird pajamas on a laptop screen and then in the bottom left hand corner of the super spy glasses we are watching the abysmal story through. He gruffly whisper-mutters things like “what’s going on?” and “get me my stone” meaning that all his scenes could have been filmed in his house without his knowledge on a drunken evening after the producers tricked him into thinking he was on a Skype call with Mel Gibson to discuss Lethal Weapon 12.
One thing to mention is that the Mummy effects look good in Day of the Mummy, which was a surprise to me seeing as how everything else was so bad. So well done to Damien Leone the special makeup effects artist, you did your job very well, no one else did, but you did.
In the world of horror Mummies most definitely need reimagining but Day of the Mummy is not the movie to do it. In the words of the great (if sometimes terrible at choosing scripts) Danny Glover, Mummies are “too old for this shit” so let’s hope soon they get the movie and the reboot they deserve.