There is no shortage of mummy pictures, be they classics like 1932’s The Mummy with Boris Karloff, goofy adventure flicks like 1999’s The Mummy, or failed attempts to start a cinematic universe like 2017’s The Mummy. They tend to have similar titles too, in case one missed 1959’s Hammer horror version of The Mummy. In truth, perhaps they could do with a reboot, or a rebirth. That in mind, on Tuesday, August 13th, The Mummy Rebirth comes to DVD and Digital via Uncork’d Entertainment.
The work of Producer/Directors Khu and Justin Price (Snare 2016, The Dawnseeker 2018), Price also wrote the script, in which two treasure hunters called Daniella (Brittany Goodwin: Gears of War 3 video game, The Perfect Race 2019) and Noah (Carter: Paramnesia 2017, Strings 2018) come across a sealed tomb. It does not stay sealed for long though, as they end up waking up Sebek (Shamel Hashish: Awkward Silence 2018) and Michal Aaron Wiede, the mummy within. Now they must stop it as fast as they can before it brings about the end of the world.
The question is, does the film stand up next to the other Egyptian-inspired classics? Especially when it has taken at least some inspiration from the 1999 entry, with its similarly bald antagonist Sebek and raven-haired love interest Reheema (Taylor Carter: Almost Amazing 2017). Carter’s look as Noah is not a million miles away from that of Brendan Fraser in the same film either.
Unfortunately, that is as far as the comparisons go. The visual effects make the infamous Scorpion King model in 2001’s The Mummy Returns look like something from 2009’s Avatar by comparison. Even for a direct-to-DVD film, the CG and green screen work is poor. The Sphinx overlooking the campsite looks like it came from a Windows 95 multimedia history program. While the site itself looks about as Egyptian as Cobb County. It is a wonder they found enough sand to do an actual desert setting in later.
Not that the rest of the production is all that hot, the camerawork is quite shoddy overall. In some scenes, the camera looks like it is trying hard to fit its central characters in the shot while leaving the auto-focus on. The editing does not help things either, shifting clunkily shot by shot with little build-up or pacing. Monsters just appear on screen, and actors react before the audience knows they are being attacked. Either the scenes could have done with better shot composition, or there were some missing effects.
It did not necessarily have to be a visual effect either, as the sound effects are at least reasonable, if noticeably stock. Anyone who has seen a Looney Tunes cartoon or played a survival horror video game will find some familiar roars and ricochets. The costume design is not so bad either, with some ghoulish-looking mummies and fair-enough ancient Egyptians. It is not high-end, though it is passable enough for a relatively low budget.
As far as the acting, the best performances on show are from the two leads, Carter and Goodwin. They are not fantastic, and do not have much chemistry together. Yet they come off as fair compared to the other, more mediocre performances. The absolute bottom of the barrel comes from Maurice Hart as Chaka. He does not last long, yet his terrible readings leave an impression. He comes off like a parent reading their child a bedtime story at 3 AM. The writing is not stellar – often quite dull and confusing in places – but even it deserves better than Hart’s work.
Film crews can only do so much with a low budget, but there are films with similar budgets that manage to have better acting and camerawork in them. The Mummy Rebirth is an altogether shoddy attempt to do what the other films did better. It feels more like something the Asylum would have released around the time of The Mummy 2017’s release. That said, it is not offensively bad, unless one is a stickler for technical quality. Fans of classic, dodgy B-flicks like 1988’s Space Mutiny or 1990’s The Final Sacrifice may find enjoyment here. Beyond that though, it does not make the A-game. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives The Mummy Rebirth 2 out of 5 stars.