A graduate student on an archaeological dig in a desert performs a ritual on a mummy wearing a fearsome mask, awakening the blood-hungry spirit of Tezcalipoca, Lord of the Smoking Mirror.
Charles Pinion and Greg Salman wrote American Mummy. The film starts off with a few friends in the desert. They are on an archaeological dig but of course it turns to madness. If we have learned anything in the horror world, it is The Hills Have Eyes (1977) have taught us the desert is one more place we avoid. (These places include the woods, camp sites, old abandoned buildings, vans and dark alleys) The way the film is shot gives a sense of real creepiness.
The film stars Suziey Block as Professor Jensen, Aiden Bristow as Max, Aaron Burt (Derek), Esther Canata (Carmen), Erin Condry (Connie), Jack Grimmett (Phillip), Rudy Marquez (Jose), Peter Marr (Albert), Rigo Obezo (Aztec Priest), Jennifer June Ross (Becca) and Greg Salman as Dr. Lobachevsky.
We find the first group of friends discover something grizzly. The film then cuts ahead two twelve weeks later. The background and landscape is really part of the film. Once they hit twelve weeks later, it starts to feel more like you can get into the film. They have a set up and it is the “Monroe University Dig Team.” The dig team is staying in the desert and the fact that they throw in information about each of the team members is cool. It makes it feel a little bit more like a documentary but also still manages to tell the story.
You get the sense that this will not be like every other mummy film. Charles Pinion gives us a lot of varied shots. The cast plays each character as if they are on this type of mission and they are not exactly sure what they got themselves into. They manage to figure it out along the way. A lot of the shots though of the desert gave Drifter and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) vibes. It felt like an homage.
The mummy is more Aztec based and the legends they came up with certainly are different. “What the heck would an Aztec sacrifice be doing out here?” Doesn’t everyone ask that at least once in life?
Director Charles Pinion has some great shots in the film. He gives the horror fans some great scares. When the mummy does make his appearance it requires spilled blood. The relationships built in the film between the characters shows that being stuck in the desert with a mummy makes people do some crazy stuff.
Charles Pinion shot the film as if he knew what it was like to be out there in the desert and sort of stuck. The cast shows varied emotions and each actor plays off one another in the scenes. The sacrificial awakening of the mummy gets a little freaky with some necrophilia involved (you want to skip that part if you get weirded out quickly) Of course once you awake a mummy you know there will consequences. Especially an Aztec Mummy who is a couple hundred or possibly thousands of years old and it wants to kill.
Once it does get a grasp on the characters they have flashbacks to the mummy. It has some great scary scenes and it is a fun film to watch. One thing I wonder about is how these people in movies always have such bright flashlights? One after the other we discover these people should have avoided this archeological dig and left the mummy alone. The effects were decent and the torso scene is something that was different in a mummy based film.
One person finally says, “We got to get out of here.” Why is it that a few dead people always bring people to see the light? They argue and go back and forth as to whether it is an Aztec god or a virus? Whatever it is, it is time to get out of dodge. Run for the hills. No, wait… don’t! Overall this film is decent and it has a story with some scares and a killer mummy who makes people do the unthinkable. The moral of all this, stay out of the woods, deserts and don’t give people who panic an axe.
Charles Pinion did a great job with this film and the cast really pulled off someone insane stuff. The environment, the mummy and the fear certainly helped them.