Review: Charles Pinion’s American Mummy

As most of you may know, the reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise is slated to hit theaters worldwide on June 9th. I’m unsure how the movie will perform at the box office, but I do know it will generate some sort of interest in the long forgotten monster movie flicks that started way back in 1932. So, it’s kind of genius that Wild Eye Releasing would push this movie out on Blu-ray and DVD three weeks before Tom Cruise’s Hollywood premiere. The only problem with this formula is… there aren’t any attacking mummies here. American Mummy should be re-titled to American Zombie because, even though we get a nice homage to Evil Dead, the only mummy we see is a prop that lays in the dirt the entire movie. As much as I found some enjoyment during my viewing, I wanted to make that very clear to my audience. Don’t let the the DVD cover and poster art fool you, American Mummy is basically a zombie movie… and the zombie’s aren’t Egyptian royalty wrapped in bandages. They’re just modern zombies.

And this was a big let down to me as a reviewer because I was dying to see an independent feature film that was really about mummies. I’m so down to see the re-emergence of a cult villain that’s not overly produced by Hollywood. I thought this was my shot, but I was wrong. American Mummy originally went into principal photography in 2014 under the guise of Aztec Blood, but it was only released via Wild Eye Releasing in 2017. The plot follows a small group of university students who unearth a mummy while digging during a school project in New Mexico. One of the students is well aware of the darkness that surrounded the rare find, and she performs a sacred ritual that awakens the spirit of the dead body. The spirit takes possession of the first person it sees and starts a bloody rampage through the students. Suziey Block, Aidan Bristow, Aaron Burt, Esther Canata, Erin Condry, Jack Grimmett, Rudy Marquez, Peter Marr, Jennifer June Ross and Greg Salman star.

From the beginning, American Mummy had a lot of give and take. There’s a large part of me that wants to rip this movie to shreds, but I still found some level of enjoyment – so let me be fair. The picture quality is clearer and more in focus than other titled in the Wild Eye Releasing catalogue. Major props to cinematographer Jenny Ramirez for putting the effort into making this look so good. Director and co-writer Charles Pinion and co-writer and producer Greg Salman also did a good job inventing a story that attempted to bring mummies into the 2010’s by cleverly mixing horror with drama and a tiny bit of comedy. I don’t think it’s fair to blame them for the problematic marketing tools as much as I should blame Wild Eye for the misleading repackaging. At the same time, American Mummy had a few problems on the side of sound. The audio is problematic in one way or another throughout the entire feature; whether it be because of the wind or uneven levels of volume. The super cheesy scores in the background don’t do anything to remedy this, either. And the production design of the whole thing feels slightly outdated. So, there’s that.

Still, American Mummy is set in a cool location, whether it really is New Mexico or some place else. Major props to the location manager for scouting out that gem. When they weren’t using nature to their advantage, the production team used a green screen without a single error. That was some expert work and everyone on the editing and digital effects team should be proud of their efforts here. And American Mummy is fun. It’s got decent amounts of nudity, fantastic and realistic looking props, and tons of blood splattering gore. It’s all ever so slightly on the edge of b-movie quality, but I think that adds to the allure of it all. This could have been a lot better, but I felt the right sacrifices were made to secure the location, the props, and the special effects – which keep this movie from being a total bomb. Also, the acting wasn’t terrible, either! American Mummy is still a b-movie, but it’s a good b-movie! I wouldn’t waste my time watching it again, but I think it’s worth a RedBox rental or a stream if you’re doing a themed movie night with your friends.

Final Score: 5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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