Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days of Halloween 2014: Day 12

Week #3: Mostly Mummies
The Awakening
Mike Newell

Matthew Corbeck (Charlton Heston) is an archeologist obsessed with finding the tomb of ‘The Nameless One,’ an ancient Egyptian queen hidden away due to her terrible crimes.  He so obsessed, he virtually ignores to his pregnant wife. His daughter is still-born on the day he discovers the tomb, and then miraculously breathes again when he opens the sarcophagus. Eighteen years later his estranged daughter seeks him out. They are both driven to gather the mummy and its canopic jars to enact a ritual that could bring The Nameless One to life once again.

The Awakening is a loose adaption of Bram Stoker’s novel, Jewel of the Seven Stars, but it has much more in common with The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976). It attempts to recreate the overwhelming dread of The Exorcist but only manages to be plodding and a little dull. It also tries to tap into the feeling of evil’s inevitable victory that is present in The Omen. Here it is a little more successful, but is once again hindered by the slow pace. Their is never anything particularly frightening that happens, but there a few moments of mild gore. I think the biggest issue is that the villain, The Nameless One, is such an unknown quantity, that it’s difficult to be scared by her. We’re told she killed thousands during her reign, but we never get a flavor for her brand of evil. She’s just a blank slate we’re told to be scared of. The Awakening is a valiant effort at classy horror, but it fails to entertain.

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